Don’t allow others to "SHOULD" all over you!

I was talking to a friend, telling her all of the things I “should” be doing and she kindly said to me,

“Sunshine, stop shoulding all over yourself.”

I was taken aback by the phrase. I had never heard it before. The way she said “shoulding” sounded an awful lot like shitting. So I said,

“Sunshine, stop shitting all over yourself.”

The word picture made its way into my spirit and I investigated it. Why do I place all of these expectations on myself? Why do I demand so much from myself? Why am I so focused on being perfect? Is anyone perfect? Is perfection even attainable? No. So why do I keep “shoulding” on myself with unrealistic expectations of perfection, only to take my inability to live up to perfection, as yet another sign that I suck? 

“Stop shoulding all over yourself!”

“Okay, I will!”

A few days after that decision to stop “shoulding” all over myself, I woke up and I felt weird. I journaled about the feeling:

January 12, 2011

…Today I am feeling something I am choosing not to label as of yet…I guess I feel like I am not doing enough. I feel like M is disappointed in me, which is not a great feeling…Today I am feeling like a failure and now I am making a choice to ask the question, “How can I get over feeling like a failure today?”

Later on that same day I wrote:

…So I got the answer to my question. So glad I asked it {the answer was to share the feeling with another person, to speak the feeling out loud as opposed to my normal MO of keeping it inside, in the dark, where Satan has time to water the feeling and make it grow}…As I reflect on the feeling I recognize there was a part of me that wanted to feel like a failure and not be talked out of it {which displayed itself by my not wanting to share the feeling with another person} or be given a different perspective…Satan wanted me to feel like I can be perfect and because I am not perfect, I am a failure…

In talking out loud about the heavy, self depreciating feeling I had of being a failure I traced its roots back to a conversation I had with M the night before. In that conversation, he “shoulded” all over me. Telling me how I could be, should be doing more. I felt,  as a result of the conversation,that  by not doing and being more, I was not quite measuring up to the idea he had of me and where I “should” be.

I recognized in myself, while talking my feeling of failure out, that I allowed myself to be “shoulded” on all the time by other people. I take all of their “shoulds” and expectations of me and I play them over and over in my head, and begin to hear it in my own voice, until it is no longer their expectation of who and what I should be but my own expectations of what I should be.

Those thoughts get played over and over and even when my rational mind says,

“But, you’re doing your best. You have a baby at home with you all day, you still have to cook dinner every night and clean the house and do the laundry and make the bed, with all that considered you do a lot and you are doing good. You are accomplishing all that you can in the 24 hours each day you are allotted."

 My perfect “shoulding” self says,

“Those are all excuses! You SHOULD be doing more. When the baby sleeps you SHOULD be recording and editing and posting videos. You SHOULD be making products, writing your business plan and researching new suppliers. You SHOULD be responding to all of the e-mails in your Natural Sunshine and Youtube inbox. You SHOULD be doing it all, and perfectly, during those two hour naps. It can be done. And the fact that you are not doing it is because you are lazy, unmotivated, making excuses and failing at life in general. You are such a failure!”

After talking it out and getting a fresh perspective on it and after hearing my friend share with me what she saw me doing every day, I felt like I was given permission to stop “shoulding” all over myself as a result of what my husband said the night before. I allowed myself to rationally see that he is not home with me all day. He has no idea what I take on every day. I  do do a lot. I saw that it was unfair of me to allow him (or anyone) , with their limited knowledge of all the intimate details of my day, call me out on not doing what they perceive I should be doing. I gave myself permission to dismiss anyone else’s expectations of me. I allowed myself to honor the truth that only I and my heavenly father know what I am capable of. And with the strength he gives me, I am doing my best.

I even went so far as to recognize that even though he is my husband, I am not living for him and I do not have any obligation to live up to the perfect image of me he has created in his mind. I won’t ever be able to do it. And therefore I will not overwhelm myself by trying. It is a setup.

So today I was given the final test.

At the breakfast table, after I had already gotten the baby up, made oatmeal complete with cinnamon, fresh bananas and cranberries, changed his diaper, fed him and talked to him, had a cup of tea, recorded a Youtube video, did my morning Yoga DVD and began writing a blog, my husband began to tell me how I could be doing more with my time. He commenced to point out a schedule he made for me and how I was not doing it {in addition to all that I already do}. He completely overlooked the part of the schedule that was meant for him and said that he wasn’t under any deadline with the schedule, just me.

I calmly shared with him how it hurt my feelings and upset me when he makes more demands on me never acknowledging or appreciating the million things I do each and every day. I told him that I thought it was not fair that he belittles the million things because he thinks I should have done a million and 12. I told him how I felt and then I politely excused myself from the table. I went outside and sat with my heavenly Father and I breathed.

For the first time I didn’t allow his should to become mine, I didn’t allow his expectations to become signs of my failure. I acknowledged what I do do, what I had done and I felt content knowing that my Father, who is in heaven, is proud of me. I am proud of me. I am right where I am supposed to be. Far from perfect, but on the road to my destiny. 

I passed the test. I was kind to myself and I didn’t allow anyone else to should all over me.

Mattews 7:3 And why worry about the speck in your friends eye when you have a log in your own eye?


Comments

  1. The imposter syndrome as it is know. I think it is important to know the difference between guilt and responsibility.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I was just reading that exact same scripture the other day! Kudos to you for speaking your feelings. I know how it is keeping everything inside. It's just no good.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I love this, and can so relate. Thank you for putting into words what so many women feel.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

As always, thanks for reading and commenting! I love the feedback.

Popular Posts