Here are four tips that revolve around the dreaded "S" word--should. They all view the word (and the "less than" feeling that comes with it) from a slightly different angle. When you put them all together they form a powerful antidote to the negative effects of telling yourself that you "should" be doing something different, or differently, than you are.
1) Do You Use the "S" Word?
Do you use the "s" word--should? If so, how do you use it, and how often? And how does it make you feel? Start paying attention and keeping track.
Should is a slippery word, because it looks good on the outside. Yes, I should be writing more, and faster, and better, and differently. I want to. But should judges more than inspires. It beats you up.
To say that you should be doing something else, is really saying that you shouldn't be doing what you're doing. It implies that you're somehow wrong, or bad, or not good enough. You need to keep a close eye on the "s" word. Start thinking about what you'd like to say to yourself, instead.
2) The Opposite of "Should" is "What Is"
The word should is a judgment about what you're doing, right now. It insists that you should be doing something else, or doing whatever you're doing differently. Should takes you away from being fully present, relaxed and open in the moment. And in doing so, it stifles your creativity.
So when the voice in your head says:
- I should be working on my marketing, right now, not my writing
- My writing should be edgier, or leaner, it should be more "this" or more "that"
- I should be focused on what's popular, or what's easiest, or, or, or…
Answer yourself back, "I am where I am, and it's the perfect place for me to be, right now. In fact, I SHOULD be doing exactly what I'm doing. How do I know? Because I'm doing it. When it's right for me to write or do something else, I'll be doing that."
3) The Journey From "Have to" to "Want To"
Often, when you feel you "should" or "have to" write something, such as when you're facing a deadline, it brings up resistance. You may take on the project, but your emotional response is, "But I don't want to," or, "Don't tell me what to do," even if the project was your idea and you're the one telling yourself to do it.
When you feel any resistance to writing, or a particular project, simply recognize it and then let it go. One of the easiest ways to do this is to focus on the reasons why you WANT to write this piece.
- What will writing, or this particular project, give me?
- What do I want to give to my readers?
- How will I feel having finished it? Submitted it? Published it?
While using these questions to focus on what you want, at the same time:
- Reaffirm that writing is a choice/desire/decision.
- Do whatever it takes to move from a feeling of "have to" to "want to."
4) What Are Your "Shoulds," and Can You Let Them Go?
What are your "shoulds?" In your life? In your writing?
Make a list, and ask for each item…
- Why do I feel this way?
- Is it true?
- Who would I be, and how would I feel without this should?
- Can I let it go?
A "should" doesn't inspire or encourage you, on the contrary, it raises resistance and resentment. I'm not suggesting that you drop the thing you think you should do, only that you drop your sense of "should." If it's something that you want to do, bring yourself back to a sense of wanting to do it. Desire is in alignment with inspiration, should isn't. If it's something that you need to do, by all means do it… because it's important, not because you should.
What are your "shoulds," and can you let them go?