Thursday, December 29, 2011

Shoulding All Over Myself

I should stop eating so much at all of these holiday gatherings.
I should work out more.
I should write a blogpost.
I should _______________ (fill in the blank)

I'm shoulding all over myself again.  Do you find yourself doing this?  We spend so much energy thinking about what we should be doing.

Who says we should?

That voice inside that wants us to be accepted, to be perfect, to be acknowledged by others.  Each of us has that voice telling us what we should be doing so that voice can be satisfied.

You know what?  It will never be satisfied.  All it wants to do is want.  Even if we were to do everything perfectly, the voice would not be satisfied.  It would tell us to strive for something else.

I'm learning to silence that voice so I can make choices that are the best ones for ME, not that crazy voice.  (Make no mistake, that voice IS crazy.  Listen to yours once and you'll realize it tells you all sorts of warped ideas.) 

When I listen to that crazy voice, I respond in an almost unconscious way because that's what I'm conditioned to do.  For example, here is a typical exchange I have quite often.  Notice my typical response:

Other PersonAmy, we really need someone to take care of this.  We would be so grateful if you would take the lead on this project.
Crazy Voice:  Ooooo!  Here's your chance to be appreciated for your skills.  Do it! Do it! Do it!
MeI'd love to oversee this project.  Thank you for thinking of me!  (How nice that Other Person has such faith in my abilities.)

Now, the crazy voice is happy for about 10 seconds.  Then I realize it's finals week and I have no time for another project.  Crap.  I just shoulded all over myself.

All to satisfy the crazy voice.  Yep.  That's crazy.

Every day I'm working to stop that need to satisfy the crazy voice.  I am getting better at enacting the two steps to breaking the stupid cycle:  1)stop and 2)pay attention before responding.  (See my post below for more details.)

Have I mastered it?  No. 
Am I better?  Absolutely.

Before long, I will be able to laugh at the crazy voice, pat it on the head, and say "You are a silly little bugger, aren't you?  I'm not falling for your insanity.  Bye now."