Are you “Shoulding” on Yourself ?

When you are feeling overwhelmed it can often be a case of having unclear values, or spending time on things that are really not important to you; what I term “Shoulds”

It can be such a relief when you  eliminate the shoulds and get really clear on your own core values

This article is an extract from  my forthcoming book Self Care Isn’t Selfish

“The Shire of Should

The signs that you are in The Shire of Should are many and varied and may include any, or all, of the messages we have been discussing above: resentment, exhaustion, overwhelm, frustration. Shame and guilt may be lurking around.

Here, we are expending energy on activities or concerns for no reason other than somewhere along our journey we have taken on board someone else’s values. We are doing things merely because we feel we should. Perhaps you feel you should keep the house spotlessly clean and tidy. Maybe you think you should give 110% effort to everything you do? You should attempt to climb the corporate ladder? Perhaps you are an excellent cook and feel you should produce a gourmet meal whenever you have friends or family over for dinner.

What to do if you reach The Shire of Should?

Pause, take a breath in and out. Ask yourself some questions. It’s tempting to ask yourself where these belief systems come from; who, or what, has caused you to feel you should? Why have you taken on these values which are not your own? This might be a helpful line of enquiry. You may, however, find it more helpful to simply ask yourself, ‘What are the benefits of continuing to spend time on this activity?’ and ‘What are the benefits of no longer doing it?‘ Consider the truth: – you don’t have to do something just because you are good at it.”

‘To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.’ Ralph Waldo Emerson, essayist and poet