Guilt & The Weight of ‘Should’
As I sit here in my bedroom, I’m consistently and routinely going over the things in my head I should be doing. All day long, the thoughts roll through, sometimes noticed and sometimes just routine. “I should have gotten up earlier.” “I should have worked out today.” “What’s wrong with me?” “Why can’t I do what I need to do?” “I should not have eaten that.” “I should have said this. I should have done that.” How many of you lay your head on your pillow and think about all the things you SHOULD have done today?
Us mothers in particular seem to be great ‘should-ers.’ We think we should always be doing more than we already are. We are never doing enough. “It should be easier.” “I should be better at this.” “I should be able to handle this.” STOP ‘shoulding’ on yourself. You are doing a GREAT job. Instead of thinking you should, replace that with something more powerful and realistic. Try using “I will,” “I can” or “I want to.” What a difference that makes in what you are expecting of yourself! Language matters. It matters not only in what we say to those around us, but what we say to ourselves. Telling yourself “you should,” insinuates that you aren’t doing something right. When you change that to “I will,” your brain will follow suit because it’s what you WANT to do. The next time you start to ‘should’ on yourself – try adding in a specific context. This gives you an actionable goal or step to reach for, instead of an unattainable expectation that will only leave you feeling guilty.
Instead of “I should have worked out today” try, “I will work out tomorrow morning since I missed today.” Even if you don’t believe it yet, or if you don’t end up doing it still, this is the first step in following through with that goal.
Instead of “I should go to bed earlier” try, “I can get into bed a little earlier than this tomorrow night.” This lets your guilt go for tonight and gives you an actionable step toward your goal of getting more sleep.
Constantly thinking you should have done things you didn’t will leave you in a constant state of feeling guilty.
Guilt is h e a v y. It chains you down. It hurts. It causes anxiety and stress. It creates feelings of inadequacy, self-defeat and unworthiness. None of these feelings are serving you. It’s okay to feel these emotions, but you’ve got to let them go. Holding onto guilt will suffocate you. If you let guilt build up inside of you, it will pour out of you in the form of exhaustion, overwhelm and self-defeat.
I guarantee you the majority of your guilt is self-inflicted. Your expectations are KILLING YOU. No one but yourself is expecting you to be perfect, to know how to handle it all or to be able to do everything for everyone. You SHOULDN’T be able to stand on your own two feet 100 percent of the time. No one should. Mom-guilt is REAL. Mom-guilt is POWERFUL. It stops with us. It stops with you. You wouldn’t put that guilt on your daughter, your sister, your mother or your best friend. Stop putting it on yourself!
Let go of the guilt. Drop the shoulds. It’s just not worth it.
You are killing it. You are loved. You are worthy. YOU ARE ENOUGH!