Less Stress with Fewer “Shoulds”

Following up August’s monthly article, this blog continues the idea of ridding ourselves of “should” and “shouldn’t.” In End the Struggle and Dance With Life, Susan gives us the example of Janice who learns the value of giving up her “shoulds.”

“Shoulds” and “shouldn’ts” are signs of our need to conform. It is better that we learn to follow our heart…to follow our instinct about the way life is best lived for who we are as human beings.

For example, Janet was always dreading the Christmas season because she hated to send Christmas cards. It seemed like such a chore. One day she asked herself, “Why am I doing this when it weighs so much on my mind and on my time?”

The following Christmas she decided to stop sending Christmas cards. What a relief! She reported that to her knowledge no one has even noticed! Her friends have remained her friends. Her business acquaintances are just as cooperative as ever. Friends with whom she truly wants to connect, get a phone call that says, “I love you and wish you all wonderful things for this holiday season.” Her Holiday season has become so much easier and so much freer since she doesn’t feel obligated to send those cards. Of course, there are many who love to send Christmas cards and they definitely will “want to” continue to do so. But when sending cards becomes an obligation, instead of a joy, it’s definitely time to stop.

Does Janet enjoy getting cards? Of course, she does. But she doesn’t think any less of people who don’t send her a card. In fact, she reports sometimes being put off by cards with printed names and no personalization. She feels the senders are sending them because it is a “should” in their life, not a genuine act of caring.