STOP Shoulding Yourself

We all are so busy telling ourself what we “should” be doing, how we “should” be acting, what we “should” be saying that we make it impossible to live up to the expectations we set for ourselves. When we can’t live up to the expectations we set for ourselves, we start beating ourselves up. We start telling ourselves things we would never tell our friends. We call ourselves names like “failure”, “lazy”, and “dumb”. We hold ourselves to standards we would never hold our friends to. How do we stop this practice and heal our relationship with ourselves?

I have started to write this blog three or maybe even four times. It is a topic I feel strongly about. So why am I having such a hard time getting the words out? Why am I having trouble expressing myself around this particular topic? Does it have anything to do with the fact that I feel I “Should” write this blog? I want to help people with the blogs I write. Inspiring others to find ways to improve their relationship with themselves, is a huge part of my mission in doing this. Perhaps, because of that, I have my own list of “shoulds” around this topic.

I am the queen of high expectations! My husband will try to tell me I am high maintenance, but I am not. I am high expectations. For myself and everyone around me. While attending Buddhist meditation, the monk shared this teaching. He told us that we get upset with others because of the expectations we set for them.  Then because we have these expectations of others, when they don’t live up to them, we feel frustrated. If we didn’t have these expectations of others we would not be upset when they don’t live up to them. He illustrated this with a story of meditation. If you are editing in the forest, you do not get upset with the bird because you do not expect the bird to be quiet. You do not think you can control the bird. If you are meditating at home and others in the home are making noise, you feel frustrated because you feel they should meet your expectations. But I digress. I really want to talk about the expectation, like this, that we place on ourselves.

How many times have I told myself I did not get enough done in a day? I am constantly saying I “should” exercise more, meditate daily, practice my yoga, and keep the housework caught up. If a friend of mine was telling me she felt badly for not doing all of these things, I would tell her to stop being so hard on herself. Why is it that the expectations we hold for ourself are so much harder than what we expect from others. Eat the right things, say the right things, do the right things. We set expectations for ourselves that no one could live up to, and then we beat ourselves up when we are not able to accomplish it all. Stop it! Just stop! Love yourself the way you love your friends. Give yourself the same respect you have for those dear people in your life who trust you with their concerns.

Everyday we all “should” do the best we can in the time and space we are in. We “should” forgive ourselves. We “should” love ourselves. There will be times when we can not live up to these expectations. There will be times that we can not do our best, love ourselves, or forgive ourselves… but there will be moments that we can. There will be blessed moments of clarity when all seems magical and we can be the best version of ourselves. The rest of the time we must be patient as we continue toward our own wellness. The blessed time when we love and accept ourselves as is.

I want to share my appreciation for Paul and Maria in Warrenville, IL. I appreciate you listening to me talk about my blog and my mission to help others find wellness.  I appreciate you sharing your stories with me. I wish you blessings and personal wellness in your lives. You both have such potential; I can see it within you! Don’t “should” yourselves.

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Stacy Crep ~ Adventure Sister
Emy Minzel ~ Adventure Sister
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