10 August 2009

Inspiring Thought

One of the therapists I work with has this quote in her office, and I love it:

I release the need to determine how things "should" be...
This is something I have struggled with in my life. People "should" behave this way, marriages "should" be like this, friends "should" do this, life "should" look like this.

Guess what?

This particular sh word is full of the other sh word! We all have expectations in our lives that affect the way we live, the way we view others, and the way we respond to life. Want to know what some of mine were?

1. People should always make good choices.
2. People should be honest, always.
3. Moms should make dinner for their families.
4. Husbands should want to come home to their wives.
5. Friends should tell you the truth, even if it's hard.
6. I should always give 100% to everything I do.
7. I should never tell people when I'm having a bad day.

You know what? These shoulds can ruin lives. They can ruin marriages. These shoulds make us expect things that are unrealistic. And they allow us to be disappointed when things don't turn out how they "should." And most of the time we don't even know what our "shoulds" are! Our expectations are just a form of control, of our need to know what the outcome will be.

The more we are able to release that need, the more we will be able to accept life for what it is--a series of twists, and bumps, and surprises, and heartaches.

Think about what your shoulds are. Shoulds in your marriage. Shoulds with your friends. Shoulds with your kids. Shoulds with yourselves. Share some of them. They may be enlightening to someone...


Heather @ Alis Grave Nil said...

Great post. You are right. I used to have exactly that mindset, and it meant a lot of disappointment for me. Thanks for posting~

and i think to myself...what a wonderful world said...

I love this quote Nikki! Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

I am so glad that I woke up to read this because last night my husband and I were arguing about life in general, and basically it comes down to "you should be done with school, you are 27" or "we should have more money saved at this point in our lives". I need to let life happen and stop trying to control and "should" my way through it. I really appreciate this post.

HammondFam said...

I had a psychology professor in college that used to start our lectures by saying, "don't should on yourself or others. It isn't nice, so don't do it!" Thanks for reminding me of this, because I think I forget not to should on people, including myself!

Calee said...

Yesss. This post is what I needed right now. Big time.

I love that quote. It's going to be tacked up on my mirror tonight :)

Thanks, Nik. Love you.

Elly said...

I just wanted to say that while a lot of "shoulds" can be released, there are some that shouldn't. Such as: "You should be treated with decency and respect in your relationships", and: "You should stand up for yourself when your personal boundaries are crossed."

Nikki (Have Joy) said...

Elly, thank you so much for pointing this out. I think you are right, to a degree. I don't think "should" is the right word for that. I think saying I WILL stand up for myself, or I WILL be treated with respect is much more empowering than I should stand up for myself or I should be treated with respect. We have to take control of our lives, and shoulda woulda coulda is not the way to do it.

Suzanne Shaw said...

Nikki, what a great thought! And you took the words right out of my mouth with that last comment...well kind of.

I was going to say that should implies that you do not necessarily have control, and the fact of the matter is that we all have control in our lives. You either do you don't, you will or you won't, you did or you didn't.

Also, should usually implies that there was an expectation that lacked communication.

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