Last week I asked you to focus on four steps. First, I asked you to notice when you use should or shouldn’t. Second, to think about why you feel you should or shouldn’t do something. Third, to try to remember who first told you that you should or shouldn’t do it. Fourth, to focus on how you feel when you tell yourself you should or shouldn’t do it. I’d really like to know how you did so please let me know through the comments below or email. I know a lot of you signed up to receive the worksheet, so I’d also love to know what you thought. Did using the worksheet help? There will be another worksheet sent out this week to those of you who signed up. (For any of you who didn’t sign up last week there will be another option to sign up at the bottom of this post.)
This week we’re going to work on an important but sometimes difficult step — removing “should” from things you can’t control. I know many of us struggle with using “should” when we are discussing past events such as “I should have gone to the gym” or “I should have invited her to the party.” Using “should” for past events is brilliant. It both shames you for having done or not done something but it also assumes you have super human power to go back in time and fix the situation. I’m so sorry to be the one to tell to you this but you don’t actually have that power. Using “should” for past events really only serves to cause guilt because there isn’t anything you can do to undo what you shouldn’t have done. This week’s first step is going to be to stop using should for events that have already happened. If you’re feeling brave you can start replacing “I should have invited her to the party” with “next time I have a party I think I will invite her.” Looking forward to what you can change is much much more useful that looking back at what you’ve already done and wished you hadn’t.
Step two is something that I still struggle with. I try to be understanding and open to other people’s lives but sometimes I really like a good, judgmental gossip with friends. During theses bitch fests we often say “She should not have gone on a second date with him!” Or “he should never wear those jeans again.” I am aware that this is wrong on so many levels but I’m not perfect. This week you and I are going to try to recognize when we’re using should about other people and then (the harder bit) not use it. Now I’m not taking away anyone’s bitchy card so feel free to say “Why do you think she’s still with him?” Or “she could do so much better.” But try to avoid should whenever discussing other people. It makes you feel more important than others and more judgmental. Asking “Why doesn’t she break up with him?” gives those around you the option to say “She doesn’t want to” or “she really bloody loves him” or even “she wants to but she’s scared. I wonder how we can help?” Not using should in these situations gives others the options to disagree without feeling like you’re just going to should all over them.
Now I’m a big fan of putting things off so I obviously decided to save this weeks hardest step for last. Step three is to stop using should when talking about things you can not change. This often comes in the phrase “I should be able to lift that much weight” or “I should be able to party till 2 AM like everyone else.” It’s the “should” we put on ourselves when we want to do something that we know we physically or emotionally can’t. I was a great one for using it after my hip replacement. I felt I should be healing faster, running sooner, stretching easier. In my head I knew I couldn’t do those things yet but I wanted to be able to. This is when I refused to accept my limitations and instead decided shaming myself would be a better option. Accepting you can’t do something when you really cannot is awful. It’s almost easier to accept you can’t do the things you can do but don’t want to. This step is going to suck but please, please try this week to look out for the times you are using should because you don’t want to accept you can’t do something. When it happens remember that you are the only person who knows if you can or can’t do something and if you can’t that is OK because there are so many things you can do that others can’t.
Finally, I want to end this week by saying “be kind to yourself.” You are not perfect but you are pretty damn awesome. No matter who you are there are people in this world who would have less joy in their lives if you weren’t around. As always if you have any wobbles or questions please get in touch through the website, Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. If you’d like this week’s worksheet to help you keep track of there steps please sign up here. The next installment of banishing should will be here roughly the same time but if you want to make sure you don’t miss it please subscribe here or to the Facebook page. Good luck this week, my little ducklings, I believe in you.