It’s easy to drop into thoughts of ‘should have’ or accusations from others on what you should have done. The pressure of a should has little to do with events and everything to do with the energy around emotions and desires. They represent internal demands around your standards or of not meeting an expectation. Shoulds can also connect to the fear of what you will or will not experience under hypothetical circumstances.
According to Rick Hanson Ph.D., “Whether your ‘shoulds’ are shaped by neural programs laid down when dinosaurs ruled the earth, or when you were in grade school, they often operate unconsciously or barely semi-consciously – all the more powerfully for lurking in the shadows. Plus, in a deep sense, your ‘shoulds’ control you.”
This seems like a strange word, especially when you write about it. Its origin dates back to 1200, from Old English, the past tense of shall. Should preserves the original notion of “obligation” that has all but dropped from shall. So that’s a hint that we may feel some emotional commitment that creates an internal reaction. I should have done this whisper long ago (tee hee)! It’s never too late for learning from the whispers of spirit:
The human ego influences the need to search for understanding as a key to survival. Discernment is the critical mental activity that leads to personal growth and greater self-awareness. A should is part of discernment. When thinking about possible reactions and potential experiences regarding the chosen path, an absence of judgment creates the neutral space to make discoveries. The sense of obligation is the willingness to be vulnerable with emotions.
Feelings connected to ‘shoulds’ indicate information is coming forward into your consciousness. By allowing emotions to inform, you are connecting to the heart. The mind might say something is wrong or out of order, but the heart knows the truth and holds compassion that can temper any fear. ‘Shoulds’ are not indicators of wrongdoing, but rather curiosity that allows freedom to roam the landscape of consciousness.
There is an innocence connected to internal pressure felt by emotional content regarding alternative choices that have a lingering affect. The cleansing of the soul comes with acceptance of the self and others for the choices they made in life. Any form of mental self-abuse can be maintained in the ego mind by any emotions that support discomfort around a past decision. Seeing the path as one of learning, while acknowledging there is always something hidden in that which was not chosen, is the best way to find resolution to internal, conflicting emotions.
Exploring the experiences of the past is reappraisal that allows a person to make better choices in the future. Love yourself as you would a child. In the presence of your Inner Child, there is nothing but truth. Understand the feelings evoked by shoulds before letting them go, lest you create shame around regrets.
Bring joy, ease suffering and create beauty, then dance like you mean it!
“Should is a futile word. It’s about what didn’t happen. It belongs in a parallel universe. It belongs in another dimension of space.”