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I Will Not Should on Myself Today

By Joyce Shafer

How ready and able we are to beat up on ourselves! "I will not should on myself today" would benefit many as a new mantra.

A coaching client, who is a solo business person, provided lessons for many by sharing "should" challenges a number of people contend with in their personal, as well as professional lives. Three big "shoulds" showed up for her. You've probably experienced at least one of them, in one form or another.

Should 1 convinced her to sit at her computer all day and into the night for three weeks straight, and not productively for the most part, mostly hoping something good would happen--no outings; no mental, emotional, physical, or creative time off. All that time, and nothing shifted in a positive direction. Law of Attraction proves that what you focus on you get more of. A better statement is HOW you focus is what you get more of. Right now, as you read this, make your own mental list of what was likely attracted into her life or amplified during those weeks. More of the same, for sure. Are you currently doing this in one or more areas of your own life?

Should 2 convinced her to believe the way to improve her circumstances and experiences was to focus 24/7 on her home-based creative business--let me change the word "focus" to "dwell on"--there's a big difference between the two. This "should" is filled with stress and strain, yes? Yes. Was her focus on productive ways and actions to achieve desired outcomes during reasonable work hours, or was she worn out mentally--even burned out from the weight of this kind of thinking? Sure, she had some creative, inspired moments in the mix and some productive outcomes; but most of her thoughts ran like this: "Nothing's working the way I want it to. What am I doing wrong? Why is this happening? Why is this so hard? When is this ever going to change in my favor?!"--Whew! Using Law of Attraction principles, you can see what her day-to-day experience was like, from dawn to dark. Are you dwelling on similar questions about one or more areas of your own personal or professional life? Dwelling on and acting on create very different results.

Should 3 convinced her that anytime she attempted to focus on a personal project that felt fulfilling to her or anything other than work, her Inner Critic should nag her. What happened was rather than engage with her self and a project fully, she engaged in an inner battle with the Inner Critic--a battle between what she "should" be doing and what she felt inspired and motivated to do at that time. These battles used up her time and energy; wore her out and wore her down. Creative projects inspire. They bring joy and fulfillment by virtue of meeting a creative challenge. For her, this inner battle meant nothing she did was joyful; nothing got completed--except for her feeling completely frustrated. When you consider the Law of Attraction factor here, what you get is a big Ouch! I suggested more fun be included in her life (very attractive to LOA!)--and, not just doing fun things--engaging her own inner fun about whatever she sets out to accomplish.

We think that such stress and strain can be hidden from others (our own private hell), but it leaks from our energetic pores--it pushes people and desired outcomes away like bad body odor. That's graphic, but true. It shows in our face, our body language, our attitude. It creates a vicious cycle: we want or need to improve something in our lives; but instead of exploring appropriate actions and taking them so we can give outcomes a chance to show up (including fun and recharge times that stimulate creative productivity), we wallow and fret in our minds--which never, ever creates positive experiences and outcomes. And, this casts many people into the dark land known as I Don't Deserve Anything Better.

We seem to walk on a tightrope when it comes to how we believe we "should" perceive ourselves, which is what generates and amplifies beliefs about what we deserve. It's kind of like the story of Goldilocks--if we have too high an opinion of ourselves, the "porridge" is too hot. Too low, the "porridge" is too cold. Yet, we can't seem to allow ourselves to sit in the chair where the "porridge" is just right. Why is this? It's because we were convinced by others (who also believe this) that the assessment of who we are, how well we're doing, and what we deserve must be decided by others, not us. We ignore the fact that allowing the opinions of others to define us and what we deserve has never worked and never will; and, in fact, keeps us understandably confused and stifles our natural inclination to explore what fulfills us, to discover and live what makes us feel like just-right porridge.

Every one of us "shoulds" on ourself from time to time. The next time you catch yourself about to do this, stop and ask, "Who am I trying to please?" The best answer, of course, is you! And in that case, you really do know what would please you, so follow your inner wisdom. We're not talking about running amok here with irresponsible behaviors. We're talking about you living YOUR life without resisting what feels appropriate, productive, and fulfilling for you.

Shoulding on yourself seldom creates results, it creates a mess. If you feel the need to should on you, relevant resistance is trying to get your attention. Really--if there's something you must do, you do it--free of shoulds. A "should" is a Stop sign: take a moment to look at it. If you should be doing whatever, why aren't you; and what would have to happen at the inner level in order for you to do it? Or, maybe you shouldn't do what you tell yourself you should. During the call with my client, she revealed that her intuition is always correct, but her Inner Critic tries to convince her otherwise with guilt-laden shoulds. I shared a quote with her by Goethe that brought tears to her eyes: "As soon as you trust yourself, you will know how to live." That we weren't taught to trust ourselves is a good reason so many do "struggle" as a way of life instead of discovery and fulfillment.

Consider if any of your "shoulds" have merit and go from there, but don't engage in a battle with them. Shift "I should" to "I will" or "I won't." "I should" has no power behind it; "I will" and "I won't" do. Include your right to have fun at the inner and outer levels of your life. You'll have a far better Law-of-Attraction result with this approach.

What does the Infinite Creative Consciousness--the final word in all things--say you deserve? All the GOOD you can use and enjoy! But, you have to agree to invite it into your state of mind. Your good will knock; it may put a foot across the threshold, but it won't enter your life fully without your permission.

Practice makes progress.

Joyce Shafer is a Life Coach, author of I Don't Want to be Your Guru, but I Have Something to Say and other books/e-books, and publisher of a free weekly online newsletter that connects people with information, resources, and others aligned with enhancing and expanding spiritual Truth in their personal and business lives. Receive a free PDF of How to Have What You REALLY Want when you subscribe at:

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