A while back I wrote a blog post about the power of the word “but.” It got a great reaction and got me rolling on this whole blog business. It’s was my reflection of a change I made in my classroom, my personal life, and my parenting style, coming from a place of concern for those around me. The post was a great example of who I am to others.
It was pointed out to me by a highly skilled and trained professional that I have a word that I use in my head which may even more powerful in shaping who I am to myself. That word is “should.” The amount of time and energy that I spend on what I should have said, done, felt, prepared for, achieved, etc., in my daily life is utterly overwhelming. It has begun to consume me. I was shown that I use this word with myself and not others, that I grant others a grace nowhere near what I do to myself. I am demanding near perfection in certain things in my life, and it is wearing me down.
It wasn’t the first time this was said to me, though it may be the first time I really heard it. When I was receiving counseling in college, the man with whom I worked noticed this same habit. He wrote on a tiny post-it note the phrase “don’t should on yourself” and I carried it around with me in my wallet for years. I got it then, but the level of my understanding was superficial. I didn’t see what I was doing to myself. My heart and soul were being worn dow a little bit at a time all day, every day.
Right now I have no solutions to propose for my should problem. I have no answers or insights. All I am doing now is trying to notice and recognize that it just might not be normal to expect so much from myself in every small and large task every day. For now, that’s all I can expect, and that’s ok. It’s where healing begins.