Many of us live our wild & precious lives burdened down under a heavy weight of “should”.
Instead of celebrating who we are–can there ever be a more perfect you?–we second-guess and third-guess and quadruple-guess our actions. We think ourselves crazy with expectations. We focus on what doesn’t seem to work in our lives, judging ourselves unworthy. We monitor our every thought, feeling, sentence and paragraph and conjure how we might succeed in becoming the perfect person, the should-less being, the enlightened one.
Worse yet, we often peer for approval from friends, from relatives, from society. We want them to declare us acceptable. So many of us ache to be liked and fear saying something–anything–to upset the apple cart.
Yet we do. We upset the cart and apples spill everywhere, no matter how nice we attempt to be.
In other words, we’ve forgotten how to embrace ourselves, to love ourselves unconditionally for who we are.
When we live in a world of monitoring thoughts, saying only what an imaginary judge deems acceptable, we’ve lost touch with our inner muse, our inner joy.
Have you glimpsed small children singing, wandering to and fro, delighted with life? Do you vaguely recall that we, too, once wandered destination-less in love with the joy of existence itself?
The journey back to embracing our own selves–not society’s expectation of us–can prove the only path worth walking in this crazy awful mysterious painful sweet life.
How do we walk back to our own innocence, our own joy, our uncompromised beauty of being?
Spiritual traditions assure us many paths exist through the snowy woods of ourselves to lead us home to our innate goodness, our beauty, our enoughness.
One of the paths involves clearly seeing that two-headed monster of “should” which we once created to make ourselves more acceptable and glean love from others.
Listen carefully to how many times daily we invoke the idol of “should” and its siblings “would” and “could”. How many times do we edit ourselves in order to shine more acceptably in the eyes of neighbors? (And I am not saying that editing isn’t wise. Editing can be skillful. I’m talking about editing solely for approval, for validation.)
And in our “shoulding” how often do we turn toward our neighbors, determining how they should act, behave, be?
Do you, like me, catch yourself “shoulding” and second-guessing yourself and others? Do you sometimes find yourself monitoring your truth? How have you learned to turn back to your own inner knowing?