Stop ?should-ing? on yourself Print E-mail
News - Final Word
Monday, 18 August 2008 07:05
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“It’s not what you stand for that makes life difficult but what you fall for”- WLS Kloosman. Taken any falls lately? If your answer is no, there’s a slim chance that you’re some kind of Mother- Theresa character. There’s a bit of a better chance that you’re not altogether in touch with yourself. Here’s how to find out.

Ask yourself what matters most to you? Yes, to you – not to your family or any of the groups you belong to. I don’t care how noble these groups might be; the point is that you have the right to think up your own preferences.

Pick five to ten things you truly care about and try to see what they have in common. They’ll probably all share a similar sort of value that reflects who you are; what it is you stand for.

Oh, girlfriend, I know. The moment someone mentions the word‘value’ we instantly think in terms of ‘should’ and ‘ought-to’. Well, you have the right to stop swallowing regurgitated values passed down through the generations. You have the right to rebel against ridiculous rules.

No, let me put it stronger – you have an obligation to yourself to stop repeating glib answers you got in a second-hand way when someone asks you what matters most to you. You have an obligation to find these answers firsthand. Your core values reflect who you are. Surely you have the right to find them for yourself? See, if you don’t, you’re going to make your own life a living hell.

Author Lorraine Cohen says that when you act in a way that is in conflict with your heart, your life feels like a struggle. When you make choices that line up with your values, you’ll feel greater peace.

Most of us have had the experience of knowing some truth about socially accepted values that we were afraid to share because we knew it would not be well received. We even have elaborate ways of hiding this fact from ourselves.

“How much vitality and joy do you feel when you do things out of guilt or shame because you fear negative consequences? You may be afraid of upsetting others or risking the withdrawal of their love and being punished in some way. The result is a build-up of resentment, anger and frustration that ultimately becomes self-directed,” Lorraine says.

Words such as ‘should’, ‘should not’, ’need to’, ‘have to’, and ‘supposed to’ create the illusion that you have a lack of choice. Lorraine says that you can at least allow yourself to have a choice by replacing your statements with permission language such as ‘I choose to’, ‘I want to’ and ‘I desire to’. Shifting your ‘shoulds’ to a language of choice moves you closer to your own truth. Just don’t expect everybody to applaud this move you’re making.

Approval from others is a nice feeling, but when we come to depend on it we may lose our way, says author Madisyn Taylor. There are those who will not like us no matter what we do, but that doesn’t mean that there is anything wrong with us.

Like attracts like, says Madisyn. So, usually when somebody doesn’t like us it is because they are not like us. Rather than taking it personally, we can let them be who they are.

When we give others that freedom, we claim it for ourselves as well, releasing ourselves from the need of their approval. We free ourselves from trying to twist into shapes that will fit the spaces provided by others’ limited understanding of us. And this is the only way to expand into becoming exactly who we’re meant to be. If you don’t think you deserve to be truly you, then think of the rest of us. We need the light only you can shine. Don’t rob us of your unique contribution.


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