While working with clients this theme is often discussed. I have had numerous conversations with a wide spectrum of ages about this belief; with those entering their adult lives, to the elderly who have less years ahead of them then they have behind. A few conversations this week inspired this posting.
I believe (U.S.) culture has been programmed with a narrow criteria that determines what a successful life entails. The predominant statement I often hear is, “I am not where I ‘should’ be in my life.” There is a belief that where they are is not adequate and they “should be” further along in their career, should have a family, should be in a relationship, marriage, have more money in the bank etc.
First, let me be honest and admit I have fallen prey to these thoughts myself! I have a process I use and remind myself each individual has their own journey, and that journey has its own timing.
Consider this metaphor. Think of your life in terms of a fruit tree.
Some trees do not bear fruit immediately after planting. Many will not bear fruit until years later. Is the tree impatient? Does the tree start pulling on its own roots telling them to grow faster? Or, does it simply allow growth to happen, enabling its branches to reach higher and wider, while its roots grow deeper into the soil? When a tree receives adequate water, sunlight, and nutrients, it is supported in its growth. When the timing is right, when it has matured and conditions are optimal, it will then begin to produce fruit.
It is easy to compare our lives to others, our siblings, contemporaries, colleagues, or the general public etc. Comparing ourselves to others while holding the belief that we “should” be at a different place in life, is in part, what keeps us caught in an unhelpful cycle.
Should statements create distorted thinking patterns that contribute to stuckness.
The more often you “SHOULD” on yourself, the unhelpful thinking pattern and beliefs are driven deeper—which makes creating change more difficult. “Should’s” also reduce self-esteem, which affects self-confidence and ripples into other areas of your life.
The good news is, with regular guidance, you CAN change them.
Are you ready to stop “should-ing” on yourself and change those unhelpful thought patterns?
© 2016 Liisa Gavlick, MA.-Full Circle Wellness. All rights reserved.