December 9, 2020

When Feeling like we “Should” Harms & Hurts Us.


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Lately, I’ve started feeling like I should be doing a lot more.

I’m not exactly sure where this feeling came from.

I reacted the usual way and tried to blame it on society first. “Well, society makes us feel this way, and that way,” I told myself.

But, does it really?

Society definitely can influence us, but, ultimately, we are the only ones who can make ourselves feel anything.

I’m at the point in my life right now, where I recently finished school, and I’ve been thinking, “Hmm, what now?” I may have a steady job for the time being, but I’ve started to feel like I should be doing more. 

We all go through a time in our lives where it feels like everyone around us is doing something different; I know people who are married, pregnant, or still playing video games until two in the afternoon. I’ve been floating through this period of my life in that early-20s, fake confident way—thinking, I’ll figure it all out.

And I do believe that. I think we all figure it out in some way, but the shoulds can really mess us up.

I’m questioning everything in my life, and the pandemic has given us all lots of time to think—maybe too much time—and I couldn’t stop the questions circling in my head:

Should I have a better job by now?

Should I be online more?

Should I be making more money?

Should I be married?

Should I own a house?

Should I dye my hair blonde—would I look better? 

The shoulds become endless.

With everything being online, instead of in-person during this pandemic—from social media to dating apps—it’s hard to know what’s even real anymore. It can all feel so insincere, so overwhelming, and it can create a sense of emptiness. 

Maybe, this is where my shoulds came from. The pandemic has not only created a feeling of emptiness but helplessness, as well. There is only so much we can do about it, and maybe, this is why I felt like I should be doing something else. 

This feeling can become harmful when we forget to see all the good that’s already present in our lives.

There is an important distinction between having a goal or purpose we are working toward versus feeling like we should do something.

When we start feeling this way, it’s important to figure out why, and decide if doing it truly aligns with our personal beliefs and values.

I had to step back and say, yes, maybe, I feel pressure and that I should be doing things differently, but where is that coming from? Are these things that I actually want? Or are they things I think I should want? 

We often try to make important decisions in our lives before we even know what we want. I hadn’t taken the time to reflect and ask myself if I wanted any of those things I thought I should.

Honestly, I like my job, and the money I make now is enough for me to live on with my little dog. I like not having social media or dating apps. I like my simple life right now. I feel too young to get married and don’t want the financial burden of owning my own house. Also, I decided I would not look good as a blonde.

Maybe, some simplicity is what many of us need right now.

Things don’t last forever, not even a pandemic. Time goes by quickly, even right now when it seems like this virus will never end.

For now, we can try to appreciate the simplicity and little pleasures in our daily lives, because it will end someday, and we will move on, and life will magically become even crazier and busier than before.

And, maybe then, after everything, we can once again start worrying about a million new things that we should be doing.



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Danielle Epting  |  Contribution: 960

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