I heard this decades ago in Al-Anon. I still share this idea with my clients (and friends…and kids…and…).
Don’t should on yourself.
So often we get caught in, “I should have known that” (my favorite), “I should do this,” “I should have done that.”’
These are all ways to judge and punish ourselves. To see where and how we’re wrong. To not accept ourselves where and how we are. To wish that we were different and to know that we should be different.
These are all lies.
Don’t should on yourself is a reminder to give yourself a break and to let how you are and what you’re doing be enough. To be able to call out the lies in your head that tell you differently. That push you to be more, do more, be different, do different.
Sure, there are times we need a push. Sure, there are times when a different path might have or will work better for us. But I’ve found those times to be less frequent than the judging voices in my head, and I’ve found much nicer ways to remind myself to try something new or to not give up on something.
I learned to ask myself – and I now often ask my clients – “Would you say that to your best friend? Would you treat someone you love that way?”
We are often harsher on ourselves than we would ever be on anyone else. Especially someone we care about.
It’s time to treat ourselves as if we care. It’s time to stop shoulding on ourselves.
I’d love to hear your thoughts, and please share this post with others if it resonates with you!