When The Shoulds Hit the Fan

When the shoulds hit the fan

Ugh. When should I wake up on the weekends? It’s the first Saturday of my summer vacation and I am awake at 5:36 am. Yesterday I woke up early too. We get to come in a little later on teacher workdays. You’d think I would embrace that as a gift from the gods, but not yesterday. I was like the third one there. Ive been late almost everyday this past month, and I’m the third one in the building? I’m intrigued by the irony of getting to school early on a workday when I had to make myself a friggin sticker chart to get myself there on time. Wait, I probably shouldn’t worry about this. I should probably get up and enjoy my day and, yes, I do use kindergarten sticker charts to motivate myself. Oh, I can feel the shoulds hitting the fan. 

I’m convinced this is all connected to another big case of the “shoulds” and you know exactly what I’m talking about. It’s those things that we think we “should” do, the things that we are supposed to do, yeah, those things.

I always kick myself for waking up early on  Saturdays.  I often wonder why my body doesn’t accept the long awaited gift of being able to sleep in as late as I want. It’s like Monday-Friday chime in with a big “Eff you, you should have slept in. You’re taking us for granted”. 

Seriously, Amanda, Please Stop Shoulding On Yourself

There are like 20,000 other things that come up daily that I could spend all of that energy on- things are actually stressful. “When should I wake up on the weekends?”  is just a bunch of white noise created by a self-imposed concept of a “should” that’s not worth its salt.

We make up tons of other dumb shouldy rules with each of them typically resulting in a big fat feeling of failure. They are unnecessary rules with unnecessary consequences. Talk about ironic? Lets talk about the fact that, if we’re being honest, we created all of these “shoulds” in an attempt to live a better, more productive, and less failing life… and look where it gets us.

The recovery community uses a common therapeutic mantra, “Stop shoulding on yourself.” I’ve actually started to  explore this with all of my clients. I think its a pretty universal concept. Also, I like to anything with lil catchy twist to it. ( edit: Psychologist Clayton Barbeau  coined the phrase “shoulding yourself“.. I figured I should mention that)

But, When Should We Should?

This post is not mean to be an excuse for being late (though I really thought about it). Actually that’s more of a requirement than a should but I digress. There is no mandatory rule that I must sleep in on a Saturday. I’m just trying to appease my weekday self., which is really silly.

So, what other unnecessary, and often counterproductive “shoulds” do we construct? There are a ton, a should ton, if you will. I can think of at least five silly shoulds that are hanging over me this very minute. I should not have just eaten all bacon. Too late, nothing I can do about it now. I should be putting up my laundry. But my brain would be all like “you should be writing a blog post, Amanda” if I was hanging up clothes right now. Honestly, I should have done both of those things last night. But then I’d just find some other way to should on myself. Because that’s how I like to spend my Saturdays. (insert eye roll)

You do this too- it’s part intrinsic human nature, part unnecessarily constructed social habit. We could all really stand to stop shoulding on ourselves and save the self-criticism (and the toilet) for something that really matters like getting up on time on the weekdays. I really should  work on that.

For now, laundry be damned, I’m eating more bacon and taking a nap. 

4 responses to “When The Shoulds Hit the Fan”

  1. So any pointers on how to stop “shoulding” ourselves? I do this all the time. Right now in fact – so I’ll just have to take a pause on reading your blog and come back another time 😀

  2. […] because they just don’t like it. Other times its because they just think it is something they should be doing. But most of the time the discomfort comes from being a beginner and not knowing how to get […]

  3. […] concept can feel like a revelation continues to boggle me) I just didn’t want to face it. The shoulds always get to me. Thinking about the fact that I should be practicing self care just makes me feel lame and end up […]

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