Taming The Shoulds

Life Simplified: A Day Without Plansphoto credit: 416style via photo pin cc

A Day Without Plans

Plans keep my brain occupied, but like you, I need time off.  On days without plans, I putter around first on the computer, then in the kitchen, and finally around the house.   When I start to feel a little aimless, the Shoulds come to visit.

Shoulds Make Unwelcome House Guests

I dislike the Shoulds.  They are unwelcome house guests.  They take the fun out of everything.

The Shoulds make me feel guilty.  They love that.  The guiltier I feel, the louder they talk.  It’s a relentless circle.

Take this weekend for example.  I took an entire day off.  I needed it, but the Shoulds didn’t leave me alone.  They reminded me I needed to cook, clean, make my bed and do laundry.  When I sat down to read my book, they needled me so I was popping up every 15 minutes to do another odd job.

Where Do Shoulds  Come From?

I have a theory.  They are homeless thoughts looking for vacant spaces in your brain where they can take up residency.  Once moved in, they spread out like weeds inviting their friends to come hang out in their new pad.

Friends of the Shoulds are the Coulds and Woulds.  When they all get together, it’s a party.  They shout, dance, and generally make a mess of what was once a calm brain.

Time To Take Control

It’s time we took a stand.  Just because the Shoulds have a lot of friends, doesn’t mean they can take over whenever we relax.

Here’s some tactics I’ve used to keep the Shoulds at bay:

  1. When a Should makes a suggestion, say something like, “That’s nice.  Thank you for the suggestion, I’m going back to my book now.”
  2. If it’s an insistent Should, look at your day,week or month and put it down at a specific day and time.
  3. If it’s a repeating Should, ask where did that come from.  Do a little journaling to see if it fits in your life or is a ghost of the past.

Finally if all else fails, take a nap.  Let your subconscious deal with those little buggers.  It will calmly tell them to quiet down so you can rest.  When you wake up, you’ll find them much quieter if not gone.

How do you corral your Shoulds?  Love to know.

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