In all the English language, with its million+ lexical items, what is the scariest word? It just might be should.
Recently a friend sent me a wise article that had inspired her, Bullish: Maybe Work-Life Balance Means You Should Work MORE.
Well, I couldn’t agree more with Jennifer Dziura when she wrote advice like this in her blog post:
“A lot of career-related writing targeted towards women emphasizes work-life balance. So you should really take some time out and nurture yourself, right?
“Actually, I’d keep that to a minimum right now. ‘Balance’ is not for the young and sprightly, instead, think of work-life balance over the course of your entire life.”
Fie on other people’s notions of balance!
I love how Jen demolishes that popular have-it-all myth about “balance.” She got me thinking about other conventional wisdom. And, then, conventional virtues. Like all the following shoulds.
All 10 are disposable, you know. Has believing in them been dragging down your quality of life?
1. You should like your every member of your family and enjoy spending time together.
Visiting them while you live on which planet?
Duty will be satisfied if you maintain the appropriate amount of visitation. Feel free to engage with a degree of cordiality that’s fair to you.
Is it smart and kind to send thank you letters after receiving gifts? Now that’s just good manners, a kind of civility that reflects well on you and costs you almost nothing.
Manners are a great shallow up skill! (“Shallow up” means to do ordinary human things in an ordinary human way. It’s fun. And it’s good for you.)
There are plenty of ways to behave honorably with relatives. However the conventional presumed depth of warm feelings? So optional. (Likewise any guilt over not having such feelings.)
2. You should spend major holidays with your family.
How about this instead? Appreciate them as best you can. When you do spend time together, be kind to your family, especially the ones who need you right now. But stop short of human sacrifice.
Sure visit your folks when you can do so without sulking or knotting up your stomach into a gnarly mess.
In many a session of RES Energy HEALING, I have used energetic literacy to read what was going on subconsciously with iffy behavior from family members.
Beneath the sugar coating, there was no chocolatey goodness, as with an M&M. So much of what happened was not nice at all.
Celebrations with family can be lovely. Just don’t dismiss your self-authority when you step through that relative’s door.
3. You should be happily married
Why, because the world is under-populated? Because Noah is reported to have welcomed animals into his ark only when they strode in two-by-two?
According to the most recent statistics I have found on the topic, the marriage gap has widened so far that 1 in 5 Americans has never married.
And let’s not even get started on the number of married couples who are partnered without marriage. Or divorced. Or estranged. Or living together in misery.
Your marital status, like your gender identity, is nobody else’s business. Being true to yourself matters far more than caving to social pressure.
4. You should applaud whatever your friends do, no matter what
So that’s what friends are for?
Oh, I think not.
We are talking about human friends, right? Not the animals you have trained to do stupid pet tricks. Of course those dear performers must receive their tasty snack every time.
But for humans? Humans who are supposedly your friends?
Automatic supportiveness and applause can stifle a friendship, not expand it.
My advice? Applaud automatically only if you’re cooped up with your buddy while in a spaceship.
Otherwise, if you can’t disagree with a friend, or speak out a bit of your perspective, what’s the point of that rootin’ tootin’ friendship?
5. You should be open and friendly and kind towards all strangers
Please do your best to be kind to strangers.
Please turn off your mobile phone when a cashier is working to serve you.
Please be as kind as possible towards strangers.
Because civilized life needs every gracious drop of civility we can squeeze out of ourselves, especially these days.
Only not at exorbitant personal cost.
If that cashier at Trader Joe’s creeps you out, for instance, it’s perfectly okay that you don’t prolong the interaction as though you were paying a social call to a much cherished friend. perhaps the highlight of your day.
It’s okay to keep your comments short. And no guilt required.
6. You should see at least two sides of every story
Well, yes, it can be useful to entertain multiple points of view. This can be downright entertaining. Educational, to some extent.
However you are entitled to your opinion about anything and everything. And you can form that opinion without extensive forays into every absurd point of view that other people can concoct.
In particular, I question the idea that caring people are obligated to wallow in the misery of others and learn about their side of story. As if in training to get a degree as an anthropologist whose Ph.D. is to be a thesis on The Uniquely Beautiful Culture of Misery Land.
For instance, any I the only one who is growing weary of the in-depth features on National Public Radio lately? Hour after wearying hour, these ernest folk are attempting to educate me in every possible detail of suffering that afflicts people anywhere in the world.
Hey, I’m a liberal. Not a masochist. Personally, I favor learning enough about current events to vote responsibly. And maybe even contact elected officials (state and federal) when it can make a difference.
But wallowing in misery? As if that would do anything to help anyone?
My suggestion is that you banish any sense of obligation to peer deeply into any such point-of-view stories.
7. You should forgive those who have wronged you
Forgiveness is so overrated.
Forgiveness can be a way to hand your power over to the same abusive person, repeating insult and injury.
Granted, civility is fine. Good manners are fine.
And I’ll be the first to admit that revenge and feuding are horrible choices. They may be an even bigger waste of time than seeking forgiveness.
Let’s draw a distinction between social niceties — and forgiveness on that level — versus feeling a deep responsibility to excuse or sugarcoat the behavior of people who have wronged you.
I definitely favor healing subconscious-level STUFF related to behavior when people have wronged you — like cutting cords of attachment and moving out major frozen blocks with Soul Energy Awakening Hypnosis®.
That’s internal, permanent energy healing. It has nothing to do with conscious-level attempts at forgiveness.
Certainly I can tell you for a fact that, based on my research with energetic literacy, forgiveness practices like Ho?oponopono bring about a superficial feeling of relief. And, of course, they appeal beautifully to all the shoulding we have internalized about the alleged blessings of forgiveness.
However, the aura-level consequences of Ho?oponopono are pretty darned ugly.
So are the energetic consequences of any form of ritualized lying to self.
8. You should always be positive
Far easier on your conscious mind and your aura would be living like this: Spontaneously say and do and be yourself in the moment. Just don’t get yourself fired or arrested.
9. You should eat according to the fad of the moment
For best results, feed your body. Not your ideology.
10. You should weigh 10 pounds less
Take this advice only if you are looking for a quick answer to the question, “How can I start yo-yo dieting?”
And please, please, don’t compare yourself to the stars you see on TV. For the women, extreme thinness has become a job requirement. Don’t believe for a moment that skeletal = normal.
- Women, you are under no obligation to fulfill The Anorexic Ideal.
- Men, you are free to develop a six-pack. Or not. This need not be a requirement for self-worth any more than sexiness.
What other shoulds have been sucking joy out of your life, Blog-Buddies?
Describe them in comments below.
Then we can have a good laugh. Maybe a sneeze.
And then let the silly things go.