Saturday, April 19, 2014

Day 220 – I should have

I just had a conversation with someone and they pointed out that I use the word “should” rather often, that I am stating towards myself that I “should” this and “should” that – and they mentioned that it is not a supportive form of self expression. After my initial resistance and reaction of justifying that it is as a legitimate form of self expression and self communication as any other, I want ahead and took a deeper look at the point.

I have noticed a tendency that I have been participating within, where I express myself in form of “should”, where I tell myself what I “should” be doing and who I “should” have become by now…  This self talk has not been empowering but rather has a self defeating aspect to it, where I put myself down and beat myself up by telling myself how much better I should have been by now – doing so within the experience and expression towards myself that I am a failure for not achieving that which I “should” have achieved by now.

Now that I am exploring this point of expression of “I should have” and shedding some light on the matter, what I am seeing is that there are two ways to use that expression– one as an expression of self support and one as self sabotage – it all depends on the starting point, the experience, and the actions that follow.

An example to how I have been using the “I should have” as self sabotage is expressed in my previous blog, where, for example, I have a tendency to compare myself to others that have walked their process a similar amount of time and thus I use that comparison to state towards myself in self judgment that I should have been able to be as effective as they are within my stand, I use the facts against me, I interpret them in a way that does not encourage me to grow/expand but rather I use it as justification to quit or to avoid that which will support me in walking towards my goal of, for example, greater effectiveness and clarity – in this example it is clear that I am using the “I should have” as a form of comparison and belittling. Imagine for a moment a situation when a parent would compare their child to their friend that got a better grade and would tell them something like this: “Why can’t you be more like X, he got an A, you should have gotten an A as well, you have the same teacher, you go to the same class, why can’t you be more like them, they must simply be better than you, maybe you should even stop trying because apparently you are a loser…”

This type of communication, whether expressed towards others or towards self is obviously not supportive nor does it encourage growth, and at the same time it does not offer any support or solutions in order to reach the goal and achieve the point of comparison. This form of “I should have” is thus a form of self sabotage. I must admit that I am guilty as charged… as this is the main form of “I should have” that I have been participating within.

But, as I have mentioned above, I am finding that there is another way to use this expression of “I should have” from within a starting point of self support, or at the very least to use this expression as a tool for self support, as a flag point, until the point is transcended. Here is what I have found.

The supportive form of using the expression of “I should have” would be done from a starting point and intention of learning and growth – in such a situation one would use comparison as a tool to see what ones potential might be if one were to apply oneself effectively, in the example of the parents and the child it would look something like this: “look, if X is getting A’s all it means is that it can be done, you go to same class and have the same teacher as X, which means you should be able to get an A as well – let’s see together what we can do to figure out why you are not reaching your potential and how we can help you in being the best that you can be, not within the intention of you being as good as X is, because it is not about them, it is about you and how we can help you reach your potential - so you are living the best version of yourself, lets learn from X and see what they are doing to succeed…”

The point here is that we can use the comparison to indicate there is a challenge that we want to put our attention on, and then we use the comparison for self growth rather than for self sabotage and judgment and belittlement. So by saying ”I should be able to do/be this or that, because I see X is doing it, or because I have an idea of the level of accomplishment that I can reach” can simply be an indication of ones unreached potential from a starting point of encouragement rather than belittlement, a starting point of self motivation for growth and expansion as an opportunity to push oneself to walk through all perceived limitations and actually achieve that which might seem as impossible.

By looking at those around us that are walking a similar path and comparing ourselves to them within a starting point of self support we can then learn from their example, we can investigate their habits, we can observe their application, we can perhaps communicate with them directly and ask about their struggles and challenges and get insight as to how they overcame them – both to get practical ideas from those who have walked the path before us, and also because in many cases we create ideas about others, not realizing the time and effort they had actually put in to their success, making it seem to an outside observer that it is so easy for them, while in fact they have gone through a process to reach the level of success that we are admiring.

The word “should” can thus live as a reminder for that – so, from now on, I commit myself to whenever I catch myself using the word “should” within the phrase “I should have”, to check my starting point and see if I am in self sabotage or self support and to realign myself if necessary – within this, I commit myself to changing my relationship towards the word “should”, from seeing it as a negative word and turning it into a supportive tool, as a flag point of support, reminding me to check and change my starting point if I see necessary, as well as to allow myself to see that which I am reaching for, the goal that I believe I should have reached, and to find practical ways to move myself towards that goal, within braking through the perceived limitation that is hiding behind the statement of “I should” as if to say “I should but I can’t” thus to change it to “if I should be doing that, then I can do it, then I will do it, let me find the way to get there”.

I see more points opening up within me in relation to this point – thus I will continue on this point in my next post.


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