Are there things in your life that you are not doing that you are telling yourself you “should” be doing? Or things you ARE doing that you “should not” be doing? Today I am going to share how and why I endeavor to eliminate the word “should” from my life.
I interpret the words “I should do this” as shorthand for “I am not doing this, and I am wrong for not doing it.” This, to me, is a disempowering and toxic thought form. The resolution I find for this thought pattern is to replace the words “I should” with “I choose to.” Making a declaration of choice makes me feel powerful, while passing judgment upon myself makes me feel small and weak.
Let’s look at an example. If I wake up with the thought, “I am tired. I want to go back to sleep. But, I SHOULD get out of bed now, or else I won’t have time to practice yoga today.” I can switch this to “I CHOOSE to get out of bed now to practice yoga this morning. I make this conscious choice because I love myself. I view my body as a temple, and yoga helps me feel more connected. Yoga gives me energy that helps me through my day, and enables me to be more loving and present with my family, friends and clients. This is why I CHOOSE to do yoga this morning.” By framing my choice in this light, I view it as a privilege to practice yoga, as opposed to an obligation or chore.
On another day, however, I might say “I choose NOT to do yoga this morning. I make this conscious choice because I love myself. My body is asking for more rest, and I honor the needs of my body.” The key here is to really tune in and find what is true for myself in any given moment.
Oftentimes, when I examine a thought that begins with “I should,” I come to realize that the belief that drives that thought isn’t my truth. The thought may originate from a societal belief, or something that I inherited from my family. For example, one way I “should” myself is to say “I SHOULD do some more work before I [fill in the blank with a fun recreational activity].” While this may have been true for my parents, who delayed gratification for the security that they believed continual work would afford them, this is not my truth. While I value the work ethic that my parents instilled in me, I find that I value play equally. So, often, when faced with a choice to work or play, I CHOOSE differently than they may have. That being said, it is 10pm on a Friday night and I am CHOOSING to write this message to you! Some would call that work. However, the reason I am staying up to write this is because I consciously CHOOSE to express my truth. I find joy in sharing my feelings openly with those who are interested in what I have to say, and it is important for me to stay connected with you on a regular basis. Therefore, I CHOOSE to write this to you. Doing so is an expression of who I am.
If what you are reading here speaks to you, I invite you to identify three things that you have been telling yourself that you “should” be doing. Consider writing them down, and then examine the origin of these thoughts. Are these thoughts true for you? If not, what is YOUR truth? Now, make a choice that is in alignment with this truth. Either choose to do them, or choose not to do them. Choose to do what feels life affirming… Choose to do what makes you feel more love for yourself and others… Choose to do what you were put on this earth to do! Feel your power in CHOOSING your own path using the guidance and wisdom that resides within you… a wisdom and guidance that is always available to you when you look within.
Yours in radiant health and conscious choice,
Joe Curcio, L. Ac.