We view our lives and this world through different lenses. These lenses are shaped and formed by the beliefs and agreements we make with ourselves. Some are dark, some rose coloured, others pessimistic. Personally, I prefer optimism. The lenses individuals choose to see the world through are endless—unique to each person—but common threads can be found.
The lens I’d like to talk about is the lens of should. We all, at one time or another, have been caught up in the “shoulds." Living our lives through the lens of should, believing there are things we should do and things we shouldn’t. The question is, where and how do we develop these contracts with ourselves? Where do we learn these beliefs about how life should be lived?
Parents, teachers, media, society, culture, peers, family, mentors—the list goes on. We’d be lying if we said that none of these ever had an influence on our decisions or how we make them.
Parents…. parents. Let’s talk about parents, just for now. They love to tell their children what to do, what to be, who to love. As a parent, I understand these feelings of necessity to teach what we think is the “right” way. Something that gets missed in parenting is when it’s time to stop telling the child what to do and what to think and instead coach them how to be, how to love, how to think. We’re raised in a world and society where “should” becomes our programming. When we’re not taught how to think, self doubt and questioning set in. We face decisions without the faith in ourselves that we know what to do. We choose a partner that we deep down know isn’t right for us yet believe we should be with due to our programming and external expectations. This is where internal conflict arises. We quit our university degree because deep down we know it isn’t going to serve us, yet the system told us we should get it, and another inner battle arises. We give in to peer pressure because we think the people telling us what to do know what is better for us than we do. Again, another inner conflict arises because something doesn’t seem right. When we simply accept a career that is not in alignment with who we truly are, we feel unfulfilled and conflicted. If we live our lives putting our trust in others above faith in ourselves on the basis of shoulds, we do a great disservice to ourselves, causing a life of internal self questioning and doubt; essentially living inauthentically, out of integrity with ourselves.
How often are you told what you should do?
Advice given although unsolicited?
Parent’s, society, peers...all ingraining their beliefs of how one is to live, love, behave, work, achieve, etc., etc., blah blah blah.
Sick of getting “should” upon?
The problem when someone "shoulds" upon us is that they’re not recognizing or acknowledging that we have the answers to deal with whatever the situation is at hand; we just may need some guidance finding those answers. Most times, we can recognize that unsolicited advice or recommendations should come from a good place. People want to help. They think they may be able to help by telling you what to do. Let’s be honest though, how often do you like being told what to do?
Maybe you’re the submissive type. It’s likely that you’re not, though.
Empowerment is developed and built by making decisions for ourselves. Soliciting help in finding the answer is always a good idea by hiring a coach or counsellor. We always have the answers we need within us; however, it’s often just a matter of assisting them to the surface. My advice is to discard the lens of should. Stop allowing people to should upon you. Stop shoulding on yourself. Know and have faith that you know what is best for you and your life, regardless of misdirections in the past. Yes, we’ve all made mistakes or wished we made different choices or encountered regret—looking back with 20/20 hindsight, blah blah blah. The only mistake is not learning from past misfortune. The truth is that only you know what is best for you and your life.
Take back your power! Take back your life! Stop letting other's influence should all over you. View your life and reality through your own lens, the one that, deep down, you know to be true.
NOT the Lens of Should. This isn’t easy to do. Reversing the programming and neural pathways that have been forged over a lifetime can take some work. But it’s possible through inner work, mindfulness, and perseverance. Contact Life Force Adventure Coaching and let’s get to work!