Eliminating “I should” on Day 73

The time change this past weekend has me feeling like I’m dragging. Yesterday after work I was feeling really tired so I sat down with my book to read for a while.

And then the voice in my head started with the “I should” lecture. It goes something like this:
I should do the dishes
I should clean out the closet
I really should get that paperwork done
I should be painting, not reading
I should go out for a walk
I should be productive, not just sitting around
…and on it goes.

With all these “I should” thoughts comes a whole heck of a lot of guilt. When did our expectations as a society become so great? Messages that bombard us everyday say that I should (there it is again!) be able to work full-time, paint every day, keep my house spotless, volunteer in my community, be a gourmet cook, and be a candidate for the mom-of-the-year award. As much as I know that’s unrealistic I tend to expect that of myself. And I wonder why I’m tired!

I read something once that said you should replace “should” with “could” so it gives you a choice. I’ve tried that and it’s a little better, however there is still a steady stream of expectations in my head so it doesn’t change the volume any.

I’m working to shut down that voice in my head that tells me “I should”, or at least change the message so that I’m kinder to myself. I’ve decided it’s time to stop being my own worst critic and to consciously be positive about who I am and what I’m doing. Wish me luck!

9 thoughts on “Eliminating “I should” on Day 73

  1. emjayzed

    I agree with you 100% and probably read the same article about changing should to could. However my concern is that if there were no should I wouldn’t get anything done (except laze on the couch!)

    I wish u good luck on your venture πŸ™‚

    1. bstonehouse

      It’s tricky to find a balance isn’t it? It always seems to be worse when I’m tired and I guilt myself for being tired. It’s a vicious circle really. I’m glad I’m not alone!

  2. Bruce and Carol Stonehouse

    Your honesty is evident and much appreciated. Most of us experience same. However In situations like this you can think strategicly and decide what is it that you desire for your legacy be. Many things or ???

  3. yz art gallery

    I know exactly how you feel. We have so many ‘should’ and ‘must’ things every day, striving to be perfect… I think different time of our lives brings different priorities. Sounds that you are also a mom, which means children (child) are your priorities now. Anyway, you are not alone. Just try to do everything with joy. Don’t be hard on yourself. May be reading the book today will spark your creativity or give you the better ideas or perspectives on life, or may be not doing anything today preserves your energy to do something great tomorrow. Everything is a perfect orchestration. After all, at the end of our lives when it will be just between us and Good, what would matter the most: clean organized closet (which, I don’t deny, might be important at some point to organize and simplify the life) or the joy what you felt during creating something beautiful? Best wishes to you.

  4. kathrinaha

    Haha, thanks very much for this. How often am I fighting with my inner “should” and making my life so unnecessarily difficult. Exchanging it for a “could” sounds a great idea, will try and see if this keeps my busy monkey mind a little bit more at ease with myself.

    1. bstonehouse

      Let me know how you make out! I have good days and bad days….my bad ‘should’ days are usually when I’m tired. I keep trying to tell myself it’s ok to rest…the message doesn’t always get through πŸ™‚

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