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Happy Thoughts

Stop Shoulding on Yourself


Words matter. They can lead us into shame spirals, focusing our energy on what we lack. Or they can inspire us to move forward, creating the life we want for ourselves. 
Stop Shoulding on Yourself


It's something we all do. We do it because we have expectations for ourselves and others. And so we speak the word should. But shoulding on yourself and others leads to shame. And shame attacks our happiness by depleting confidence, compassion and optimism. 

  1. used to indicate obligation, duty, or correctness, typically when criticizing someone’s actions.

What does shoulding look like?

I should be eating healthier. 
I should be a more engaged mother. 
I should be further along in my career. 
I should have a cleaner home. 
I should be a better partner. 
I should know better. 

If those phrases sound familiar, I'm not at all surprised. As humans, we are constantly trying to bridge the gap between where we are and where we think we should be. 

But the reality is we are where we are and there is no set, defined future state for us. The expectations we create around our futures and our relationships aren't reality, as much as we would like them to be. 

And when we are so focused on our alternate reality, that created vision that doesn't actually exist, we should on ourselves. A lot. And it's ugly. 

I should be, but I’m not. I am ashamed. I can’t. I am a failure. Why bother trying.

Holding ourselves to expectations that exists beyond our current reality holds no compassion for where we are and what we want to grow into. Feeling constantly less is a major blow to our confidence and capabilities and sucks the hope out of our lungs. 

I should be, but I’m not. I am ashamed. I can’t. I am a failure. Why bother trying.

What's the alternative, you ask? Well, its rooted in those three pillars of happiness – confidence, compassion and optimism. Instead of judging ourselves and others against an unknown future state, we show compassion for where we are, allowing ourselves to confidently step in the direction of our dreams. 

How to Stop Shoulding on Yourself