I don’t know about you, but yes, I will admit, I have been guilty of putting the should word into my vocabulary on a number of occasions. I’ve given myself plenty of should lessons and should on others too, particularly family. Once upon a time.
The turn around, like anything of great significance in life, appeared out of the blue and with devastating force and potential for change. Faced with inconsolable loss, I started shoulding myself constantly. I should have done this……I should have done that…..If only I had done this…..I should have been there etc etc. I was shoulding myself left, right and centre. It felt relentless. Just getting through the days and surviving day to day was bad enough but I had to put up with the constant‘ shoulding’ that wouldn’t stop playing over and over in my head.
As if that wasn’t enough, others joined in the bombardment:
You should go for a walk that will make you feel better.
You should think about going back to work, you need to focus on something else.
You’re got too much time on your hands, you should get out more.
You should stop thinking about things so much, you’re just making it hard on yourself and everyone else.
You shouldn’t cry, it will only make you feel worse.
You should, you should, you should…………………………………
The shoulding made me feel so angry, but I didn’t have the energy to do anything much about it at the time. Most often it came from those people who had no understanding of what it was to suffer such loss or didn’t know how to help someone who was grieving.
Since then, I have become much more forgiving and supportive of myself. I am my own best friend now, which means -
I will not should on myself today and I wont let others should on me either*
(*Jean Corley coined this phrase in 1987)