Do you do things because you 'should'?
There was a series on TV recently called ‘Humans’. It was great.
This is what it was about:
‘In a parallel present where the latest must-have gadget for any busy family is a 'Synth' - a highly-developed robotic servant that's so similar to a real human it's transforming the way we live.’
From the start we learn that some of these robots or synths are different, and have a consciousness.
One of these conscious synths is talking to a real person, and she talks about something she did and how she should regret it.
The person says ‘Forget should - it’s just do I regret or not’.
I'm stealing that line, it's pure genius!
As a psychotherapist, something I hear countless times is 'I shouldn't feel like this':
- I should be happy, I have my own house and a good job
- I should be happy, there are people worse off than me
- I should be happy, I have lots of friends
And my response?
When you use the word should, it means at some point you have been given messages about what you are expected to feel - or what you are PERMITTED to feel.
Like when great Aunt Flossie gives the 6 year old you a really rubbish Christmas prezzie and you get told off for being cross or disappointed, and told you should be grateful.
Messages - spoken or unspoken - from our parents, caregivers, grandparents, teachers, religious leaders along with society and media are constantly feeling us messages about what it's okay and not okay to feel.
Lets take a look at the examples again:
- Having a house and a job can be great. But if your house hemorrhages money for repairs, and you hate your job but can’t leave as you have a mortgage to pay then what is there to be happy about?
- I can't be sad because there are people sadder than me? That makes no sense at all - does it mean I can't be happy because there are people happier than me?
- On the face of it, having lots of friends sounds great. But what if you are a people pleaser, and your friendships are unbalanced - you’re there for others but you never ask for or expect help or support from them? It’s easy to become burnt out and lonely. And as people don’t know the real you, only the you that you think they want to see, you never made real connections with people.
I can't be sad because others are worse off? Really? Then I can't be happy because others are happier!
You feel what you feel. Trapped. Sad. Lonely.
Unless you acknowledge how you feel, how can you learn from it or make changes?
Are you going through your life like a synth, feeling only what you think is permitted?
Or are you embracing the full spectrum of emotions and live your life in glorious technicolor?
You should think about it !
If you're told what you should be doing a lot, take a look at 'Dealing With Criticism' below
If criticism makes you want to roll up into a little ball and cry, then it's time to take control - but in a way that's not going to cause conflict, and a way that feels right for you.
The guide is available on a Pay What You Want basis, meaning there is no set price, you pay what you feel it's value is to you.