Plagued by Shoulds, Acceptance, Feelings, + Special Delivery Tomorrow

I’m plagued by shoulds every single day. 

  • Should I get up earlier?
  • Should I go to bed earlier?
  • Should I eat that cookie?
  • Should I wear these shoes with this dress?
  • Should I try to meet as many people as I can at that party?
  • Should I go for a run today, even though I don’t feel like it?
  • Should I do yoga because I want to or because I feel like I should?
  • Should I read a book instead of going on Facebook?

I talked about this in this week’s Monday Mantra on not giving a sh*t. Click here to read it and hit subscribe in the upper left hand corner to receive them in your inbox every Monday.

The shoulds can destroy you. Over-thinking can create horrific situations.

I’m not going to give you the typical “you can do it!” or “be yourself!” or “stay positive!” sayings. Instead, I’m going to ask you to replace the word “should” in all of those questions I asked above with the word “want.”

  • Do I want to get up earlier?
  • Do I want to go to bed earlier?
  • Do I want to eat that cookie?
  • Do I want to wear these shoes with this dress?
  • Do I want to try to meet as many people as I can at that party?
  • Do I want go for a run today?
  • Do I want do yoga?
  • Do I want to read a book instead of going on Facebook?

Changes the dynamic, huh.

There are absolutely things you should do–like brush your teeth, take a shower, eat healthy food, drink tons of water, have good sleep–but when you start looking at your life in terms of what you want, it makes you feel a lot better.

And that’s what this is all about–feeling better. 

There is no magical solution to all of your problems or perceived problems. But you can choose to feel better. Feeling better is what matters. Feeling better is what calms you down. Feel better gives you the confidence to spring into action and do something about your situation.

Understand that there are things that you should do and things that you want to do and know the difference. Accept yourself for the things you want to do.

I was listening to a radio interview with Gabrielle Bernstein and Danielle LaPorte two weeks ago, and Danielle said “How about you make a feelings list with how you want to feel instead of creating a to-do list with things on it?”

Try it out. Make a feelings list. How do you want to feel?

I want to feel peaceful, like I’m floating on air. 

Tell me how you want to feel in the comments. Don’t forget to share this with your friends by clicking the icons below.

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  • Interesting post Diana. I’d challenge one step further and replace want with need. There are so many things that we want to do in life, but there are actually very little things that we need to do. Sometimes, we put off things we need to do (eat better) for something we want to do (destroy a five-guys cheeseburger).

    I think it’s finding a balance between the two. What do you think?

    • Hi Ryan, interesting comment on want vs. need. It’s a tricky situation. I believe that there are many things we need to do, like exercise or eat healthy, but that we won’t do them unless we really want to (unless a medical condition, etc. is forcing us to!). I think that need works at certain times, but that wanting to do something may push us more in the right direction. So for example, for people who need to exercise but really don’t want to, I try to find exercises that they will enjoy, thereby leading them to want to do it. It’s tricky in the case of devouring a five-guys burger because there are many times we want to do that, but there is a flip side. Ask yourself if you really really want that burger, or are you looking for something to fill a void or give you pleasure?
      It also works for the sleep-deprived. They may need to sleep more, but if they don’t find a way to really want it (ie. not wanting to fall asleep at work, in class, or feel like crap in general), then they may not be as driven to do it.

      What do you think? (I know for me, I can look at cookies and think I want them, but when I really ask myself if I want them, I discover that I’m bored or procrastinating. Not all the time, I do love my chocolate, but I find that this happens.)

  • I like Danielle LaPorte. She has interesting insights.

    Additionally, I think I might be broken because when I question my motives for doing something: asking if I “want” something – then I’m sometimes less likely to do anything. There are lots of things I don’t want to do, even if I enjoy them because there are other things I’d rather do instead – which end up as total time suckers and begets even more procrastination on my part. Assessing my wants doesn’t lead to more productivity, unfortunately. It means I sleep in, play on Twitter a lot or re-watch the same movie because I’ve fallen in love with the lead. It’s bad; I don’t know how to fix this. : [

    Though, I do enjoy Danielle’s insight about creating a feelings list. I don’t know how it would make me feel or how it would work. I normally have to remind myself about the emotional pay off after even if the initial work is sucky (like applying to jobs) though I feel good afterward (like applying to jobs!) because I feel productive by working on things that need to be addressed. I actually enjoy checking things off of my to-do list; my mom says I’m very goal oriented, which I think may be true. I’m not really a touchy-feeling type of person in the sense of being all up in my feelings on a consistent basis. I just tend to intellectualize my feelings.

    • It is interesting that you aid you want to do things but then you don’t do them because you have other things you want to do. So do you have a lot of wants? 🙂 I want you to ask yourself, when you think you want to go on Twitter or watch the same movie, if you really really really WANT to be doing that, or if you are doing it for an alternate reason. What is the reason? Maybe connecting with people. Maybe escaping from reality. Whatever the reason, get down to the bottom of it. I find that when I go on Facebook, I’m just either trying to escape my to-do list for a minute or looking to connect with friends. There are other ways to do both of those things that I prefer to do much more. So write down what those things are and do them when you find yourself doing a time-sucker. If you want to go for a walk, DO IT. Recognize why you are turning to the time-sucks.

      Feelings are energy. We are supposed to let them flow through us and release them. If we don’t release them, they cause us to have stress or anxiety. There is always a feeling behind stress – it’s a cover emotion. Try getting in touch with your feelings, no matter how painful. And think about how you want to feel – happy, joyful, relieved, peaceful, productive – and work towards doing things to make you feel that way. 🙂