We learn all our values and opinions on a range of topics, such as religion, gender, money, work, sex, leisure etc by the age of 5. That’s because as children we absorb all the opinions and thoughts of those around us, as we are growing up. We buy into the culture we are born into, believing it to be perfectly normal and grow up with the ideals of that culture. It is only when we are older that we begin to question some of these values but more often than not we just accept them. We very often accept them because we don’t want to rock the boat as it were. We feel it important to comply and be grateful to those who have nurtured us with these values until…. these same values that created a code of safety and predictability when we were young can begin to cause strife as we discover who we are becoming in early adulthood..
If we were brought up believing heterosexuality is the absolute norm, then we might find the thought of homosexuality very uncomfortable, so if we have feelings for the same gender we may begin to feel incredibly guilty, because we should only maintain heterosexual relationships. We comply with the rules our society or culture imposes, by denying ourselves of same gender love, enchaining ourselves to a life of absolute misery and emotional deprivation whilst suppressing our feelings of intense guilt.
Our family might tell us we should be academic when we know so deeply that we want to become an Athlete. We might be told by others that we should loose weight, when we are quite happy being our current size. We might be told we should be tidier, for no will tolerate our relaxed living style. And so the examples go on, so we risk ‘shoulding’ on ourselves.
So lets start removing the word ‘should’ from our English language as it makes us out to be wrong. This approach of ‘shoulding’ on ourselves can so easily leave us with a demoralizing sense of failure, and feeling inadequate. As a result we may become hard on ourselves. This in turn can create resistance and inner tension, so rather than giving ourselves a hard time and becoming despondent about ourselves, lets begin to recognize that instead, we have in our hands a wonderfully golden opportunity. The opportunity to identify and change that which makes us feel so unhappy and begin to shed someone else’s values for our very own. It is important we become true to ourselves..
Lets start using the word ‘could’ instead. So,’ I could be academic, but I don’t want to as I have little interest in pouring over books as a career choice and I absolutely love athletics’..’ I could loose weight but I prefer not to as I enjoy maintaining my energy levels at this weight to keep up with all the activities that I enjoy’, ‘I could be tidier but actually much rather enjoy doing other things that excite me and my charity work’.
By using the word ‘could’ to replace the word ‘should’ we begin to liberate ourselves, leaving us free to express ourselves as our nature intended. Everyone of us has a range of unique talents to nurture, explore and develop and so enriching this wonderful planet with a greater diversity of talent, skills and expertise- if only we allow ourselves!
If you find yourself becoming very disciplined and principled, following a strict programme because you feel you should, whilst also forfeiting opportunities to enjoy yourself then take the Bach Flower Remedy ‘Rock Water’ which will help you relax, balancing discipline with times for fun to have a more fulfilling lifestyle.