Are you “shoulding” on yourself?

Are you “shoulding” on yourself?

A big hello from NYC! 
 Stop #1 on my U.S. book tour!

This morning, I had the ‘special treat’ of starting my day with a run through Central Park. I love Central Park any time of year but right now the Cherry Blossom trees are in full bloom so it was particularly spectacular.

As I made my ran-walked around the park I found myself feeling a myriad of emotions. Delight in the blossoms. Gratitude to be here in this city that never sleeps. Excitement about my next ten days and the people I’ll meet speaking at numerous events over the next 10 days. And last, but not least, a degree of ‘mothers guilt’.

I’d Skyped my kids on waking up this morning (at 4am… thank you jet-lag)  and none of them seemed to be  missing me. In fact they were all far more excited to share about their week at school, and happy to provide their feedback on how I did on my interview on Fox and Friends yesterday. So it got me thinking… why on earth am I feeling guilty?

I realized it was because I was ‘shoulding’ on myself.  As I wrote in Stop Playing Safe, this term was originally coined by Dr Fritz Perls  to describe people who let others expectations and judgements determine what they will do and say ahead of what they truly want for themselves.  I’m sure there are people who think that as a mother of four I shouldn’t be gallivanting off to the far side of the world for two weeks of book/self-promotion. But here’s the deal, and what I had to remind myself of this morning:

How can I tell my kids to follow their dreams if I’m not following my own?!   Who say’s I shouldn’t?! And why would anyone else’s opinion matter more than mine?!

So on that note, I’d love you to think about where you are may be ‘shoulding on yourself’ – giving your ‘shoulds’ too much power in your life. Where are you letting your ‘shoulds’ keep you from pursuing aspirations that inspire you, or making changes to any area of your life that isn’t as you wish?

Living a ‘should-free’ life isn’t about shirking responsibility. It is about forging your own path and not letting your fear of what others think you ‘should’ be doing (or not doing!)  keep you from doing what is true for you.  That takes courage. So next time you use the word should, replace it with could. It takes the judgement out of it, and allows you to choose what you want… not what you think you ‘should’ do. E.g. Instead of “I should do x…”  say “I could do x or I could do y” and then see what resonates most truthfully for you.

What shoulds have been running your life?  Please leave a comment below and let me know.

Wishing you a fabulous “Should-free” weekend ahead!