“Should is how other people want us to live our lives. It’s all of the expectations that others layer upon us.
Sometimes, Shoulds are small, seemingly innocuous, and easily accommodated. “You should listen to that song,” for example. At other times, Shoulds are highly influential systems of thought that pressure and, at their most destructive, coerce us to live our lives differently.” – Elle Luna
I used to live the life of a people pleaser. Doing things I thought I should do because I thought that’s what other people wanted/expected of me. It took me much longer than it should have to realise that the only thing I was truly doing was losing myself in the process. I was completely swamped by the shoulds and coulds in my life that I was terrified of doing the things I really wanted to do because ‘what would they think?’ It was about that time that I escaped to Indonesia and completely changed the path of my life – totally by accident. I started to learn what it meant to understand myself (the good and the bad) and to accept that my mental health was my responsibility and to learn how to take care of it. I learned to become really aware of the pressures in my life and to make conscious choices about which systems I would allow to mould me.
In the spirit of mental health week this week I want to encourage you all to let go of some of your ‘shoulds’ and embrace more of your musts. There are many things that we must do, some compelling and exciting and others mundane yet necessary. If we spent less time doing the things we thought we should do, and putting all that energy into the things that we must we would be much better balanced humans.
On that note. I let go of my shoulds and Bo and I are right now embracing our need to bike ride down volcanoes, sip fresh juice in the rice fields and embrace the culture of our other-home. We are out of the country for a few weeks taking good care of our mental health by taking a much wanted break from our every-day and embracing the privilege of adventure.
What do you do to care for your mental health? Do the should’s in your life take over some times?