Our belief in Shoulds and Oughts is the mud that layers our lives—covering our soul’s longings, our life’s purpose, and our true selves.
They are someone else’s rules that we end up trading our time for, trading our lives for. This was a serious wake up call for me when I found myself compromising my soul’s calling because I thought I should stay in my high powered corporate job. I ought to just shut up and buck up because I’ve got it so good. Don’t make changes.
When we never question if what we’re doing is what we really want to be doing with our lives, we mask our true selves. Sooner or later this leads to imbalance. And imbalance leads to all kinds of things we don’t really want.
When I stayed stuck in my Shoulds and Oughts I got sick. I had the belief that to be accepted by my family, my tribe, my community and society, I should stay in a job that appeared to have all the benefits that anyone could dream of. It really was a dream job—on paper, anyway.
But not for me. Not for my soul. Which is what really mattered. At the time, I didn’t believe that was as important. I thought I should be happy because I had this great job, great people, fame, fortune and all that jazz. But that should led to a cancer that was growing in my body because I was operating my life around someone else’s ideas of Shoulds and Oughts, and not around the calling of my soul.
I was out of balance with my head and my heart. And I then lost balance of health and my life.
Nothing in life is more important that the discovery and the delivery of you—of who you really are, of what makes you come alive, of what blows your skirt up. Pursuing the path to unlocking your own mysteries is a rich, juicy, adventure-filled journey. Chances are, it’s not found hidden within anything that you think you Should or Ought to be doing. When we trap ourselves in these misperceived obligations we create imbalance between our head and our heart, and that creates imbalance in everything else in our lives. For true joy and happiness to emerge from the well-spring of love that we are, we need to be in balance. We need to be true to ourselves. Period.
So how do we begin to undo those obligations that we think we Should or Ought to do?
The first step is to move beyond the limited thinking that we are being selfish when we choose to say no to someone or something, and get comfortable in self-honoring choices. To become comfortable with saying “yes” to ourselves. When we take care of ourselves first, it is only then that we are in the position to mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually give our best self to all of the other people in our lives, and to give in a way that is authentic and genuine.
Next, we need to look at our lives and examine the rules we live by. Most beliefs have been passed to us from our parents, from society, from our schools, churches, employers and communities. Those beliefs have become the rules, the Shoulds and the Oughts, that now decree our lives. They keep us from acting in spontaneous joy and experiencing the fulfillment of following our own flow and staying true to our own song.
See if you can identify the rules you have set up in your life. Check in with yourself. Feel in your gut if they align with your true desires.
Listen to your language. If the word Should or Ought falls out of your mouth when you are talking about something, that’s your first clue you may be operating in a way that is out of alignment.
Author: Donna Bond
Editor: Emily Bartran