We all say to ourselves “I should do something”, “they should do this”, or “we shouldn’t have done that.” But if we look at this truthfully, it doesn’t matter if we should or shouldn’t have done something, we did. (Look at us, doing things, or not)
“Do or do not. There is no try.” – Yoda
Or more like “It is either done or not done. There is no should.” If I wanted to do something, I would do it. Also if someone else shouldn’t have done something, they wouldn’t have. They did the thing, that is the reality of the situation. It doesn’t matter if they shouldn’t, they did and I can move on from that point. Dwelling on the idea that they shouldn’t have is a great way to should myself to death.
Let me give you an example:
I have a wonderful friend. I’ve known her for years. Those years have done a number on her health and her marriage. Me, being the wonderful know-it-all that I am, offered many rounds of direction and advice for her to follow. Most of which she agreed to but never followed. Man, I was frustrated with her. Didn’t she know she was killing herself? Didn’t she know I knew what I was talking about?
She should listen to me!
Bingo! There it is. I expected her to live up to my expectations of her. I thought I did it out of love, but it was really out of fear and to boost my ego. I didn’t want to loose her, I wanted to save her. She should have listened.
But she didn’t. I came to terms with that, eventually. Change is hard. At least when we stay the same we know what to expect. Me requiring that she do things she wasn’t going to do put a strain on our relationship and her life was already stressed to the max. Who was I to tell her what she should and shouldn’t do? She did what she did. There was less guilt for her and less frustration for me if I just accepted it.
“I am not here to teach you. I am here to love you. Love will teach you.” – meme
So I chose to love her instead. I let her be who she was, as she was, without all the added guilt. Soon I was able to do that for myself, too. No longer blaming myself and others for things I thought should be a certain way. It is a way to accept things as they are and take responsibility for myself. Allowing myself to see things as they are and not how I demand they be was quite freeing. The acceptance was healing. Things got a little better.
I stopped taking on other’s problems because I felt I should. I no longer hated myself because I did something I shouldn’t have done. I saw the reality of the situation and I moved on from that point. I cannot change the past but I can see the now and look forward to the future. I no longer wait for others to be as I expect them to be. They just are as they are. They are enough and so am I.
I have now changed my should to would and added an if on the end. I do this when I am feeling rather judge-y and it has saved me a lot of heartache.
I would drink less coffee if I really wanted to (but I don’t).
She would take care of herself if it was more important to her (my opinion doesn’t matter).
It wouldn’t have happened if I wasn’t supposed to learn something.
All the shoulds I gave to myself never did me any good. It’s what I have or have not done that has created my life. That steaming pile of should is no longer my problem. Once you figure out how unnecessary it is you can stop should-ing yourself, too.
I highly recommend it.