Have you ever had a bad case of the shoulds? Or felt trapped by negative thinking all stemming back to what you *should* have done differently? If so, please know you’re not alone! This is very common- especially if you’re the kind of person who’s already really hard on themselves. That said- it is possible to stop putting yourself through that! So here are my thoughts on how to stop shoulding on yourself.
If we begin at any point in my story, I could share with you the set of shoulds I was putting myself through at that point. Right after college when I parted ways from my projected career path I tormented myself with I “should” have gotten a different degree. There were break ups I told myself I should have known better, job opportunities I wish I had gone differently, and multiple decisions raising my first puppy I felt I should trained a different way.
Shoulds Will Never Ends
It never ends if you stay in the should trap! And that’s because there are endless possibilities of every single decision point.
Now of course, some of us are more prone to this than others. I believe over functioners and high stress personalities especially tend to over think things- which absolutely includes all the other alternatives that could have/should have happened.
On the other side of the coin there you can always think of what WOULD have happened had you not made the decision you did- except not for the worse, but instead of the better.
Point is: there’s nine ways to Sunday to dissect an argument on what would have been best but the truth is- you can’t change it now.
Hindsight Is Everything
I truly believe that what ifs are a big culprit when you need to stop shoulding on yourself. That means- stop beating yourself what what could have happened differently if you would have known, and start trusting yourself that you made the best decision you could have at the time with the information you had then.
One thing I try to do is remember that more information always comes when you’re in a hindsight position- so never try to judge yourself from that point of view, instead try to analyze it with compassion putting it into “here’s what I’d do differently if I had to do it again.”
Practice Letting Go
Remember that letting go of the shoulds, the what ifs, and the self judgement is a key part of the process. Building yourself up with a deep sense of trust and self acceptance is really important.
The a should starts to sneak up- practice letting go. Tell yourself that you’re choosing to let go of obsessing about what you should have done, and instead you’re accepting where things are at face value.
This will absolutely empower you to trust yourself more wholly.
Honestly- I’ve got a lot to say about this in regards to what I’m working through in my personal life right now- all of which I’ve shared on this week’s episode of The A Bit From Within Podcast: The Trap of the Shoulds! Listen here below or wherever you get your podcasts!
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