How many times a day do you use the word “should”? If you’re like me the answer will be too many to count. In 2017 I was starting to question the engrained expectations I had of myself, and while it’s been a tad rocky at times (pausing to second guess a knee jerk reaction is bloody tough sometimes!) I think I’ve finally replaced the dreaded “should” with the far more exploratory “could”.
So what? Why am I choosing this one word to break my proverbial blogging seal?
Let me explain...
That one word is so dictatorial, if any of these resonate with you it may be time to ask ourselves why...
- I should lose weight
- I should stay in touch with that person, even though they make me feel rubbish
- I should put make up on/do my hair before I nip out
- I should go to the gym today
- I shouldn’t take time for “self care” unless everything else is done
- I should do “self care” as it’s the done thing...
- I shouldn’t buy myself that coffee/lunch/chocolate bar
- I should look up quick ways to a flatter stomach, as I go on holiday in a week
- I should shave my legs before I go for a massage
- I shouldn’t share that I’m proud of myself for something, in case people think I’m big headed
- I should work over my contracted hours so my boss sees me as a hard worker
- I should fit in with everyone
- I should stand out as unique
- I shouldn’t express that something upsets me, in case it seems I’m nagging
- I should just (wo)man up and get on with it
- When someone steps into my home I should say “excuse the mess”, even though I’ve been tidying manically for the past hour
- I should read this blog as Bu shared it and I want to appear supportive(!)
Ok, so those are just off the top of my head, I’m pretty sure you all have your own. It’s these sort of things I’ve been trying to catch mid-thought, and each time I’ve asked myself why. Not in a defensive way, more in a quizzical sense.
Who has these expectations of us? In 2017 I discovered it was actually all me - I was telling myself all these things were essential structures for my life, purely because that’s what society has hinted at. Even scarier was the fact that when I pointed this out to some close friends, they were the same. We have all been doing what we think we “should” even in reality no one is really paying attention, in fact we’re all too busy worrying about our own shit, I mean should.
When we replace should with could we allow a story to begin.
"I could go to the gym, or I could stay home and binge watch my favourite show for an hour. Actually I think I want to go to the gym - I always feel so could after. Yeah, I choose to do that...then I’ll catch half an hour of Pretty Little Liars (don’t judge folks!) later tonight!"
So, what’s the answer?
I’m afraid I can’t cure it, but I can invite you to consider the above and spend a second thinking of the things you believe you “should” do. Perhaps then next time you’re about to pick up that duster/dumbbell or deprive yourself of that coffee/chapter, you could catch yourself and ask yourself why.
You may be surprised at how many of the same things you still end up doing, but the change in mindset while doing them can be quite transformational.
Trust me, I’ve LOVED the feeling of writing again now that I’m doing it without obligation - did I mention I’ve been doing so while on the cross trainer at the gym? Oh yeah, I rejoined in December after a year away, solely because I wanted to! ❤️
Have a fabulous day folks,
BuBakes is committed to reducing the stigma attached to Mental Health, and personally donates 25p for every order received to MIND. This is kindly matched by three generous supporters, meaning a £1 donation is made per order.
I am also training to walk 40 miles in 24 hours along the Cornish Coastlines to raise money for this amazing charity. If you would like to find out more, or make a donation you can do so here.