What do your shoulds mean? Take time to evaluate beliefs

WHAT should you be doing right now?

What should be the result?

What should other people think and say and feel about it?

What should you feel and do with that?

Should things be different to what they are?

"Should" is one of those amazing words that lays down the red carpet to the deeper recesses of the human soul.

We all have within us a collection of beliefs and values, ideas and incomplete emotions that sit beneath the surface of what we consciously make decisions about.

We like to think that it doesn't influence us in our thinking and in our decision making, but the reality is there is a constant turmoil that goes on inside us, unseen and unknown.

There are moments though when this inner turmoil reveals itself, and often in such a subtle or sneaky way that we may not even notice, or if we do, we may tell ourselves that it is alright, or even just choose to ignore it because it doesn't make sense for who we are.

The word "should" is one of those amazing words that links us in to this turmoil and what we have linked to all of those concepts.

It can link in with all sorts of associations that we can carry with us - connections of consequences that allow us to form our beliefs about the way that life and the world works. It links us into judgement.

Now judgement is actually a very useful concept. It allows us to take safe actions and to make decisions looking for a particular outcome.

Being "judgemental" is what happens when we get angry, frustrated or upset when the actions we take differ from the template we have set up in our expectations.

We attach moral implications of right and wrong, or good and bad, or even holy or evil to these expectations.

So when we express the word "should" we are calling on those sets of (often sneaky) expectations to come in.

Even the most rational, logical, matter-of-fact, and "right or wrong" kind of people have this going on.

So over the coming week, build your awareness about how you use the word "should". What is the belief that is attached to this word when you use it?

What are the judgements that you call upon, and how strong are those judgements?

When does this open you up for new experiences or ways of thinking about things, and when do you close it down?

When do you judge people, and how harshly do you judge them?

How do you judge yourself, and how severely do you beat yourself up or punish yourself when these are not fulfilled?

For some people this judgement can become so harsh it becomes part of their identity and they become "not good enough".

Then ask yourself the question - what "could" you do to deal with this belief more effectively?

Paul Stewart is a personal coach with Compassion Coaching, www.compassion coaching.com.au. He also supports the inSight Men's Circle, run through Hopelink - phone 4979 3626.

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