There is no should

Have you been “shoulding” all over yourself? Do you believe you are “supposed to” do X, Y, and Z in order to be successful or good?

Most of us do.

These shoulds can come from a religious viewpoint where there is the right way and sinful way decreed by God. They can come from modern societal norms and expectations. And they can even come from our own self-imposed rules and restrictions. Regardless, they so often result in us spending our lives doing what we feel obligated in some way to do, rather than what we feel called from some place deep within us to do. We live someone else’s version of goodness, truth, beauty, and wisdom and forsake our own. Sometimes, we don’t even realize that we can have our own.

Here’s my truth: There is no should. There is nothing you are supposed to do or be. There is no way the world is supposed to be. If there is a God, there is no specific way he/she/they/it wants you to be. God wants you to be you. All these shoulds we impose on ourselves are not the cold, hard, objective truth of the universe as we often imagine. They are simply constructs of our own minds, prisons of our own making that we could simply walk away from if we chose.

Personally, I often find myself thinking I should be kinder. I should be more mindful. I should be more patient.

And when I really think about it I find there is actually quite a bit of overlap between my shoulds and what I genuinely want and feel called to do. I do want to be kinder, more mindful, and more patient. And yet, these aspirations can be so much more liberating, joyful, and easeful than I’ve made them in the past. When they are a should, I often resist them, even resent them. But when I can recognize them as genuine callings rather than impositions, they transform. They become a part of my authentic purpose; a part of what I’m here to do; a part of what makes my life beautiful, meaningful, and fulfilling.

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