I’m curious. If you are anything like me, you have had many moments in your life where you have said things like:
- I should get this ______ done
- I should get moving on this project
- I should (or should not) have said this
- I have to make this happen
These are statements of necessity.
How does it feel in your body when you use these words? Are you even aware of that feeling at the time? What are the feelings or images you elicit with these thoughts or statements?
Why not become more aware and intentional with what you say to yourself as well as to others?
When you are shoulding on yourself you are in a state of believing you need or need to do something. These are feelings of shame, guilt, and unworthiness. Sometimes very slight or very hidden behind a sense of “responsibility.”
And the thing is, whenever you are in an emotional state; be it high like in love or low like feeling unloved; you are not in a potion to make good choices and you are not in the moment of now.
I’ve been there.
Sometimes I still am.
I have made some horrific choices in my life because of what I thought was responsibility. I said I would do something, under some sort of ego driven or duress state, and it blew up.
I’ll give you examples:
- A friend of mine was in a bind to have someone watch her dog. That weekend I was committed to a retreat an hour from her home. She asked if I could help her out and I felt I should. Well, the second day the retreat ran over time, I ran into construction and re-routing on the way to her home, and the dog was in such a state of distress the neighbors had to get him.
HOW WAS THIS HELPFUL?
- I had a desire to help a trainer grow her business by managing the design and build of a retreat center. I believed I had to support and help this person grow. When I was getting ready to leave my home and move to do this, I felt I was making a huge mistake. I did no homework on how this person managed her team or her core values nor did I perform the usual due diligence when entering into a contract. This engagement turned into a complete disaster, and I never got to do any work on even gathering requirements for the retreat.
HOW WAS THIS HELPFUL?
And there have been more in my past.
The point is that sometimes you want to do something and don’t take the time to think it through and you make choices based on excitement, obligation, or potential ego status.
Reality hits and you’re faced with chaos and pain.
And shame gets to dig in even more.
You feel obligated, morally bound, believe it is your duty, or honoring a commitment all created from an emotional state.
And when it falls apart you now have evidence that you are not good enough, you may feel shame for the failure, and feel guilty about the problems you appear to have created.
Adding even more pressure to being in an emotional state where you make poor choices.
So, when you are aware you are shoulding on yourself, having to take an action, needing to do something no matter what, step back. Look at your choices from another perspective.
What would happen if you didn’t do what you are planning? Are there other options, different choices available? Why is it important to you to do this thing? Are you making decisions based on ego and making you feel good? What would happen if you did do this thing? What are the potential consequences?
Why is this important to you? Why can’t you say, sorry but I am unable to accommodate this right now? Are you allowing yourself to be taken advantage of and allowing someone else to cross healthy boundaries? Why is it okay to not love yourself enough to say no?
Choosing to stop and not make decisions when feeling an emotional “spark” can seem overwhelming, and maybe difficult to achieve. I invite you to look inward for the things you can control and practice getting out of your emotional state by changing your physical state (stand up, lift your chin up, shoulders back, feet apart, and breathe deeply). This is the quickest way to release your emotions and begin to be more in the moment.
When you stop shoulding on yourself and move into the present you face yourself and discover that you do have the capacity to make conscious choices now that move you forward.
Personal development does not happen with a weekend retreat. It does not happen with reading books, reading blogs, or listening to videos. It does not happen with a deep conversation with your coach. It takes allowing yourself to know you are worthy of self-care and self-development. It takes giving yourself permission to be the person you want to be. It takes having someone at your side guiding you through the barriers that could hold you back. It takes someone who has done it and is willing to go through it with you.