I Am back!
WoooEeee! I’ll tell you what, I didn’t mean to take that much time away from here.
Life decided to take off this summer. I met some amazing new friends, traveled a bunch, and completely fell in love with life in a brand new way. This is, by no means, a bad thing, and I am NOT complaining. But boy, I am definitely itching to get this back up and running again.
I hope you guys are still with me out there!
Let’s start this back off with a heavy-hitter, shall we? Have a seat and lend me your ear… er, eyes.
On the eve of turning the almighty 30 years old, I have found myself learning yet another powerful life lesson. This one hit me so squarely in the damn face, it knocked me clean off of my feet! Hell, my head is still reeling from that blow. Are those stars I’m seeing?
So what lesson would this one be, exactly?
It is the life lesson behind the dangerous and destructive nature of Shoulding all over yourself.
Now, please do not confuse this with the
just as equally dangerous and destructive nature of Shitting yourself.
This should also be avoided at all cost, if you would be so kind.
We thank you in advance.
Take a look at your life and the way you speak to yourself, about yourself, and with others.
Are you Shoulding all over yourself?
“I should be pursuing that career because it pays better, even though I’m happy in this one. I should be going college because that’s what is expected. I should be settling down. I should have a house by now. I should be a smaller size. I should be this. I should be that.”
What exactly are we comparing to that defines these “shoulds”? Are we comparing our lives with someone else’s? Are we comparing our current version of life with a former version? What standard are we assuming to be Almighty and perfect – one that we deem we must hold all else to?
We compare how we look and dress to those inaccurate and fake accounts on social media:
“I should be a smaller size because “beautiful women” are smaller in size.”
We compare our success, as defined by you and only you, to those who only
appear to have even more “success” than you.
We compare current relationships to those in the past:
“I’m so happy and in love with this person, yet I feel like I should be feeling differently
because that is what I’ve known before.”
We may think: “Damn, I should have a house and be settling down by now
because that’s what people do in their 30’s. I’m a failure.”
There’s almost this bizarre social expectation that we unknowingly glorify and compare against. We have this perception of how things SHOULD be, so much so that we lose complete sight of what we WANT.
NEWS FLASH PEOPLE: We are greatly harming ourselves with this Should nonsense! The problem is, when you Should yourself and others, you create this incredible amount of pressure on yourself (and others) to do or be something based on what you THINK you’re supposed to do or be, rather than simply being true to who you are and what you want.
Does that makes sense?
Hopefully that makes sense. I mean, if it doesn’t, maybe read that last paragraph again.
So what is the solution? It’s simple.. ish. Just get back to focusing on what you want.
Hmm. Sounds easy enough. And yet we love nothing more than to revert back to the comfortable and familiar bubble of self-destruction that lies squarely in the web of giant Shoulds.
Do not live there! Vacate the premises, post haste!
It’s the difference between life and death, people.
I’m serious about that.
An easy practice to consider throughout the day is to simply ask yourself,
“Am I doing this because I want to, or because I should?”
Now, don’t get me wrong folks, there are things in our lives that should be done, despite our desire to not want to do them. I am, in NO WAY, suggesting you quit being a responsible freaking human being and grown-ass adult.
Yes, you should take a shower. Yes, you should definitely pay your bills. Yes, you should give a damn about your health. Yes, you should take out the week-old garbage that is beginning to really stink up the place. Yes, you should return that call to the IRS and deal with that demon you’ve been shooing away for months.
With these mandatory Shoulds of life, honor yourself for the discernment of choosing to do it when you simultaneously would sometimes rather not. Acknowledge the self-respect you have towards yourself in choosing to do these things. Come from a place of Love.
When we become aware of the forces that are driving our actions, we can decide how we “want” to live and break free from the oppression of how we “should” live.
Let me give you all a very dramatic and extreme example of what I’m talking about.
I grew up and am still currently living in the gorgeous state of Utah. Without fail, I’m sure there is one question you immediately wonder to yourself and the answer to that question is, Yes, I was raised LDS (mormon), but I left the church over a decade ago. Fact.
There are many a joke and pointed jab when it comes to Utah, mormons, and if you grew up in either (or both) of those arenas. More often than not, it’s ex-mormon’s poking ex-mormon’s, because we’ve been there and we freaking get it! You grow up believing life has to be a certain way, you step away from that, and suddenly your tunnel vision vanishes and you go,
“Oh! Man, there is way less pressure out here! This is liberating! Are you seeing this?!”
“Duuuuude, I know RIGHT?!” – Fellow ex-Mormon.
One Jab that looooooooves to be tossed around, even to this day, is that as a still very marriage-less female, about to turn 30, that I am incredibly behind in life. Mind you, this statement being entirely according to “Utah standards”. This joke stems from the fact that, simply put, Mormon’s marry off at a very young age. They also start families at a very young age… this one according to the rest of the worlds’ standards. Normally people don’t marry off or even start having children until their mid to late 30’s, or even 40’s. In Mormon culture, right out high school or first years of twenty-hood are the marital springboard to the rest of your life.
Okay, I don’t know about you guys, but I was in no way, shape, or form, ready for marriage in my early twenties, let alone punching out a few crumb snatchers at that age. Hell, I’m almost 30 and I’m still warming up to the idea of any of that! So here’s where the should and wants have played a leading role in my life.
According to some beliefs:
– I Should marry a returned missionary.
(Why? Because there’s this cloud of disgrace if you don’t.)
– I Should be married within a few years out of high school.
-I Should wait to have any form of intimacy until marriage.
-I Should DEFINITELY want children and should begin having them as soon as I can.
(Time is ticking!)
-I Should , as a wife and mother, stay home and dote on my husband and children.
-I Should, as a female, not be into wild adrenaline sports, such as skydiving or motorcycles, because children need their mother, you wreck-less heathen, you.
-I Should do as the rules say. Do not question, do not disobey. These rules are the definition of what should be expected of you as a human being.
“Here – fit into this box like everyone else.”
Now. From what you know about me, little or a lot, does any of that sound like me?!
Let’s fix all of the above from “Should” to “Want” and observe how the scene changes.
According to Cristin’s desires in life:
– I WANT to marry whomever I damn well please, thank you very much.
-I WANT(ed) to live an incredibly glorious single life before even considering marriage. I made something of myself and for myself. I’m extremely proud of that.
-I WANT intimacy. Right Meow. Case closed.
Okay timeout for a second.
I get the whole possibility of getting knocked up out of wedlock
as being the primary reason for abstinence.
It happens. I get it.
HOWEVER, comma, you want to know my opinion on this specific matter?
It’s really a good one.. you’ll get a kick out of it.
You ready to hear it? Okay, okay, here it goes….
You wouldn’t buy a car without test driving it first, would you?
Cue mic drop.
Okay, moving on.
-I have never been sure I WANT children.
As of right this moment, with nearly 30 years walking around planet Earth behind me, the idea of having and raising children has yet to sound appealing. I am content with the idea of living this particular lifetime without doing so. It is simply not my cup of tea, but I respectfully tip my glass to those of you who desire nothing more.
-I WANT to continue my wild, adrenaline filled life. In fact, I want to do MORE.
-I WANT to question rules. I WANT to know WHY. I WANT to define myself by my own set of standards, desires, and passions.
Do pardon my creative lack for finding a more sensitive equivalent for
my next statement, but,
“Fuck. your. box.”
(Oof, that felt good to say.)
Hopefully I have painted a decent picture to illustrate the differences behind “Wants” and “Shoulds”. One is empowering and pulls you closer towards your best possible self. The other is destructive, counter productive and serves absolutely no one, yourself included.
This life must not be wasted living in a maddening realm of Should.
If so, you will undoubtedly find as you drift off to sleep for the very last time,
you’ll be thinking rather ironically to yourself,