I am coming to a realization that I really would like to apply a very simple math equation to my life. It’s as easy as simple subtraction. Let me show you.
My life – any more shoulds = a happy and content me.
This idea of subtracting “should” from my life has occurred to me in a number of areas in my life and I will reveal some of these areas in a moment, but 1st I’d like to discuss the reason. To elaborate and for clarity, I looked up the meaning of “should”. Here is what I found: should – used to indicate obligation, duty, or correctness, typically when criticizing someone’s actions: he should have been careful
In my efforts to live my life on purpose and with intentionality I have found that doing things out of a sense of obligation or duty never “feels” right. When things don’t “feel” right, you can’t really put your whole heart into it. Doesn’t that make sense?
I can remember in my early twenties feeling obligated to visit my grandma. To be clear, it wasn’t just a feeling, it was an intentional guilt trip that was placed upon me. When I say, “it was an intentional guilt trip” I am not placing blame on my grandma, because I knew she was doing to me what had been done to her.
I was about 22 years old, married and had a 18 month old son. Somehow, I allowed myself to see this exchange with my grandmother rather clearly and when she asked me in her syrupy sweet Texan accent, “Wha’s more important than comin’ to visit with your grandma?” I remember saying something along the lines of, “Well, Grandma, right now tending to my son is more important”. She seemed to take it well. I don’t remember a dispute.
What I do remember is the feeling that question generated in me. It stuck with me for a long time, my entire life so far, I guess. Right? From that point forward I knew with the utmost of certainty that I never wanted anyone to visit me or do anything with or for me out of a sense of obligation. I only want people in my life who truly desire to be there.
I am in no way claiming that obligation is a negative thing, but in this context, I find it undesirable. I think if the same undesirable feeling goes with, Should I strive to dress more fashionably? Should I try to wear make up? Should I try to appear more feminine or Should I work out right now? Then the answer, in my mind is no. I don’t think we “should” do anything that doesn’t feel like it aligns with our true self.
I believe a better question would be, Do I want to dress more fashionably? Yes, sometimes I do. When I don’t feel like it, I will wear my comfy jeans, sweats and t-shirts. Do I want to wear make up? Yes, I do sometimes. It’s ok to say yes and it’s ok to say no, additionally, it’s ok to change your mind.
Do I think you should subtract “should” from your life? I think a better question is, Do you want to subtract “should” from your life? It doesn’t matter what I think about you and your life. What truly matters is what we think and feel about ourselves and our lives.
My desire is to lessen my critical thoughts about myself. I want to be supportive and encouraging to myself and it is my belief that what you think about is what you talk about and words have power. So that means what you talk about is what you create and you came here to live out your dreams. Should you make an attempt to increase your self supportive and self encouraging thoughts? That, my friend, is all up to you.