The other day while thinking over my seasonal to do list, I kept referring to each line item as “I should do this” or “I should do that.” It occurred to me that all the items on my list were things I put there for some reason, but were they really that important. If I could not get to them, would the world crumble around me? Unlikely. Would I loose friends or a job? Probably not. Then I started examining what it would take to complete each item so I could check them off the list. That’s where the “shoulds” crept in. I had this external expectation upon me as to how I must go about completing the things on my list.Â As if there was a certain manner in which everything must be done.
So where does this curse of “shoulding” come from? If you think about it, living under “shoulds” removes you from being the author of your life. You live according to someone else’s script. Someone else’s expectations. Now before you tell me I shouldn’t be saying this, let me state that in order to live in community with others, there is a degree of this type of living that will be necessary. But I propose that people are “shoulding” far too often. What a mess!
Most of our “shoulds” come from our family of origin. There are certain ways things are to be done. Ways to treat others, ways to clean a house, ways to drive to work, ways to do marriage, etc. While each of these ways may be fine in and of themselves, do you want to do things that way? Stretch yourself to look at things differently. Look at the shoulds in your life. Where do your “shoulds” come from? Do you want to continue living according to someone else’s script?
Often our “shoulds” turn into habits. So this holiday season, pick one habit or should and replace it with something else of your choosing. This can start as simply as driving a different way to work or it can be as big as doing something completely different on Christmas day. Next time you find yourself saying “I should do this” or “I should do that;” according to whom? Live by your own script. Be the author of your own story. Make this holiday season what you want it to be! May your holidays be blessed with all you desire.
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