The Insidiousness of Shoulds

I was thinking about “Shoulds” a bit since it came up in conversation the other day with a friend, as well as in a different way earlier today.

As I was driving this morning, my mind went to a place of saying that life should be a certain way, or should not be a certain way. I noticed it, since one of my core beliefs is that life shouldn’t be this way or that, it just is. Meaning, that fundamentally, I don’t think that there is a intelligent life force that dictates what will or will not happen to me or you, rather, that things just happen due to the interconnectivity of everything.

So in my current life model, there is no should of what SHOULD be happening in my life or to me, and in turn, there is no place for me to be disappointed in the lack of these things. Rather, there is WHAT IS, and I can either choose to appreciate that or focus on the WHAT ISN’T.

What I came to realize is that if I am a person who has shoulds in his life; I should do this or I should do that, I’m basically saying that I should make life something other than it already is. And once I am open to doing that, I am also open to suggesting that life SHOULD otherwise be different than it already is. I don’t really think I can have one should without the other. It’s a uniform life perspective, either there are shoulds in the world, or there aren’t.

Curtailing shoulds in more about living with what is. In the case of an inner feeling of “I should do this” it’s about respecting where I actually am vs where I think I should be. So to the exterior feeling of “My life should be this way” is fiction that I’m not living my life as it is, rather waiting for life to be a different way.

The nice thing is that now I know that anytime I think about a SHOULD, it can be a trigger to think more about the disconnect between where I am, and where things actually are, so I can reflect and perhaps change myself or my situation in a more productive way – or perhaps just find peace with what is more quickly.