In our jet-set lifestyle, it’s tough to get it all done. Most of us run from the minute we get out of bed until it’s time to fall asleep and do it all over. I know those feelings too well. My attempt to do more led me to writing it all down. It was my version of a to-do list. Much to my chagrin, the list just seemed to get longer and longer, and I felt even more overwhelmed.
Can you relate?
After wrestling with myself (and my feelings of lack of time), I finally realized it wasn’t so much about “getting it all done” as it was the way it made me feel when I looked at the list. I realized it was the “should factor.”
The “should factor” is the little voice in the back of your mind that starts telling you what you “should” do.
That “should” thought is then followed by sinking feelings like guilt or powerlessness. After these thoughts set in, the mental beatings start with all the reasons why you’re a bad friend/daughter/spouse/boss/whatever. Maybe you “should “call your in-laws over for Sunday dinner or make room in your schedule for an old friend you’ve lost touch with.
As you think of adding these much-needed events to your mile-long to-do list, your inner child screams, “I don’t want to, so I won’t!” while the mature you insists you’re being unreasonable. “Good people always make time for in-laws and long-lost friends,” your mature mind scolds as you continue this internal battle.
Instead of feeling guilty or bad when “should” sets in, see it as a red flag that your inner self or subconscious is trying to get your attention. It’s time to step back and look at situations in a different light.
For starters, think about the in-law situation. Ask yourself why you think you need to ask them over for dinner. Have you not spoken to them lately? If that’s the case, maybe a phone call is the perfect way to connect. They’re busy too, and if you go out and buy the best ham for dinner, they’ll automatically feel obligated to come over. (It could actually be a “should” on both sides of the fence!)
What about your friend? Why not send her a handwritten note or email letting her know that you’re thinking of her? People most generally just want to be recognized and remembered. Small gestures can keep relationships going.
“Should” is simply a condition created in our own mind and not necessarily reality. Just because your mom, your sister or society thinks things have to be a certain way, it doesn’t mean you can’t find your own way of doing things.
It’s your life and you’re the only one who gets to wake up and go to bed with yourself. If “should” is making you unhappy, change it! Most likely those around you are so caught up in their own “should’s”, they don’t even notice yours.