Are The “Shoulds” Holding You Back? – 5 Steps to Freedom

Are the “shoulds” holding you back?

You can spend years on recovery and not make true progress if you haven’t identified what’s holding you back.

Look deep inside and find it.

I did. For my it’s the “shoulds”. Living life obeying the “shoulds” has 1 outcome: unhappiness. So here are a few steps unraveling what behind the “shoulds”.

Step 1: Identify your “shoulds”

Ok, pause for one moment. You might be wondering, What are these “shoulds”?

They’re all the things you feel obligated to do but don’t want to. They aren’t actual rules or necessities, but you abide by them just the same.

Here are some examples:

“I should…”

only healthy foods.
exercise as much as possible.
socialize with people as often as I can.
wear makeup and contacts at all times.
get a job in the field I studied.
be perfect in as many things as possible.
say yes to everything.

Step 2: Which “shoulds” are you able to let go of?

Some are easier than others to break free from. So start with the easier ones first and then keep progressing from there.

For example: First, I’m going to really work to let go of the feeling that I can only eat “healthy” foods.

Once you feel like you have a good grip on that, you can move down your list.

Step 3: Find why you want to leave the “should” behind

Figure out what that “should” is holding you back from.

It might look something like this: “Healthy eating is not an absolute. And I’m not happy if I am not eating chocolate. I really like chocolate and there’s no need to cut it out of my diet completely. I can nourish my body and still eat chocolate.”

Step 4: Ignore the thought patterns that will tempt you back to the “should”

You have held this belief for awhile, so it will take training to get your brain on board with this new way of thinking.

Don’t give up. Don’t let other’s thoughts or words sway you back to the “should” statement. The “shoulds” do not serve you.

Step 5: Follow through

Now, put it all into action and throw the “should” to the wind.

Eat chocolate for dessert. Have a hot cocoa on a cold day. Refuse to live by standards that do not serve you.

As you can see, it’s not easy to break away from the “shoulds” that hold you captive.

But it’s always worth the effort.

Image: @vinaysomanna

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