We should not feel guilty over our “Shoulds.” Yet, it is the “shoulds” we have that make us feel guilty. They are what convict us of our failures to live up to our expectations. This guilt makes us tense.
The “should” are the rules we have to live by. They help us decide how to live. Yet, how often do they make our lives’ miserable?
Why “Shoulds” make you feel guilty.
Actually the “Shoulds“ make us feel guilty only when we don’t follow them. I know I should get started on the blog early in the week so I can get it posted by Friday. Yet, I usually find a reason to put off starting the blog until about Wednesday. By that time I feel enough guilt to make it a top priority. This week I finally felt that this blog was more important than an optional breakfast with a group in which I am only marginally involved. If this gets posted by Friday morning the combination of “Shoulds” and resulting Guilt will have served me well.
Often the guilt overwhelms us. Then we get stopped or do a less than ideal job. Can we find a better way to get things done?
Where did the “Shoulds” come from in the first place?
The “Should” that I must start each week’s blog on Monday or Tuesday comes from my experience that I must process and rewrite it several times to get it to flow reasonably well and be free of major typos. I must get the ideas down and then let them sit for a while. When I come back I can see problems with the prior version.
A few weeks ago when I returned I decided that I needed to totally rewrite the blog. The final one got out a week late. The first version served to let me process the issue.
This excursion into how my “should” that, “I must get each week’s blog started early in the week”, came about serves to show us that “Should” are summaries of our experiences and desires. My goal is to publish a blog each Friday so you can ponder it over the weekend. This “should” is clearly evolving, but most of our “shoulds” are deeply engrained.
Where did most of our “Shoulds” come from?
Our “should” serve as rules to make our lives easier. Yet, they make us tense too. This tension arises when a desire to not follow the rule also exists. I would rather do other things than write another blog.
The blog rule exists because I wish to help you to get over things. The things I seek to help you with are such things as, “I should not feel pain.” I should not feel guilty that I am ill.” “I should not let my personal limitations prevent me from meeting my obligations to others….” These are all more important than just getting the blog written for a few readers.
So, what is making you feel Guilty?
Where did that “should” come from?
Does that “should” still serve you, how and how not?
Is there a “should” that will serve you better?
The “shoulds” that I suggested you ponder will not yield their answers easily. As you begin pondering “why I feel guilty that I am ill.”, many memories around illness will emerge. You had to learn when to stop and go to bed and when to push through a cold or other discomfort. What obligation did you miss by giving in to the cold? How well did you perform while pushing thru the cold? Do you recall any other options? Are there remedies you might try? Are there other ways to meet your obligations?
By pondering these and related questions, have you gotten to know who you are better? Can you accept yourself more? Will you be less tense next time?
“Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are.” (Chinese Proverb)
As All Ways, Seek Joy,