116: 3 Sneaky Shoulds You Should Kick to the Curb

by | Oct 6, 2022

Do you ever tell yourself “you should get the dishes done” as you’re sitting on the couch trying to relax

… or “you should be grateful” when you’re super frustrated with your kids.

This week we’re talking about some sneaky ways ‘should’ sneaks into our vernacular and keep us stuck.

And more importantly, I’m also sharing how to change the conversation to feel more motivating and empowering.

Enjoy! xo, Janeen

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[00:00:00] Janeen: All right. My friends. Welcome back to another podcast episode. I’m doing back to back episodes this morning. So still the morning, still in my workout stuff. I just recorded the previous episode five minutes before this one, and I am excited to be here with you guys. I have to tell you though there is something about being a mom that is a little crazy for me right now.

[00:00:26] And it’s teaching kids how to drive. If there’s one thing about being a mom that I wish that I could just send off to someone else, it would be driver’s ed. I don’t know what it’s like in your state to teach your kids how to drive, but in Colorado they can have six hours with a professional driving instructor, but the rest of the time he’s gotta drive with me.

[00:00:46] and I gotta tell you, I. I don’t know what I’m gonna do. I’ve like, I’m like, stop, stop, stop, stop. And he’s like laughing. I’m like, no, no, get outta the car. You’re done. no, we’re not doing this. And there are some [00:01:00] days that I’m like, no, you can’t drive today. I’m not in the right head space to be your instructor today and he doesn’t understand. And it’s okay. I don’t need him to understand all the things that I’m going through as a parent.

[00:01:12] But, yeah, it’s funny. And, and I, I have to tell you that my son was getting a ride home with a friend the other day in his car from a soccer game. And the mom, who’s a really good friend of mine, she let her son drive, also same age as my son, and also learning how to drive. And she’s like, stop, stop, stop. she says the same things that I do in the car. And she’s like, Isaac, I’m so sorry that you have to see me like this. And he’s like, listen, my mom is exactly the same way. I was just like, I feel so validated.

[00:01:43] it’s not just me. I feel like he is taking my life in his hands every single time he gets behind the wheel. And not my favorite thing, my friends, but I am excited for him to drive, so that I drive less. That is something I am looking forward to. It’s on the horizon.

[00:01:59] All right. [00:02:00] So today we are talking about three sneaky shoulds that you really should kick to the curb. It’s kind of a cheeky title today. Double shoulds there on purpose, but. I wanna talk to you about this, because this is something that I have also been coaching on quite a bit lately is these shoulds kinds of conversations. And I want y’all to stop shoulding all over yourself. It doesn’t feel good.

[00:02:23] And we still do it. I think you guys have probably heard this before that we should stop shoulding on ourselves. It’s not something new, but I wanna talk to you today about three sneaky ways that this shows up. So that if you are doing this to yourself, you can catch it and you can change that conversation.

[00:02:42] All right. So shoulds I feel like just show up from all over the place. Right? They show up from the way that we were raised in our families, they show up because of the, the religious culture that we are a part of, or maybe the religious culture that we grew up in that we walked away from, it’s still there.

[00:02:59] It’s [00:03:00] still happening. These conversations, we really should, be doing something different because we just have these ideas that we somehow latched onto at some point in our lives about what we should be doing to be ultimately enough, right. To be a good mom or to be a good friend or to be a good wife, we should be doing all of these things.

[00:03:21] So like I said, I wanna talk to you about some categories of shoulds and how these are pretty common I find in my own coaching and then also with the clients that I have. I want you to start paying attention to how you use these phrases and how you use these conversations in your life and what these conversations feel like. Just tell yourself for a moment you should be making dinner or you should be grateful for something. I want you to think about how that phrase feels. Is it motivating for you? I know for myself, it’s not motivating for me [00:04:00] at all.

[00:04:00] Anytime I tell myself a should, it’s not motivating. I wanna gag. So I want you paying attention to these. So the first common should is I should be grateful. I should be grateful for my life. But you’re currently not grateful for your life.

[00:04:19] You’re currently frustrated or angry or sad and that’s okay. Don’t try to bury those emotions with a gratitude. It’s not helpful. I feel like this surfaces a lot in our religious culture, wherever we find ourselves.

[00:04:35] Because oftentimes we wanna recognize our blessings. We want to be aware of the amazing things that we have in our lives. And so when we’re not feeling that way, we tell ourselves, but you should be grateful. You should be grateful for the things that you have. You shouldn’t be complaining about this other thing over here.

[00:04:55] And I think the surfaces sometimes as a parent.[00:05:00] I remember a point in my life where I really wanted to be a mom and I still really wanna be a mom, but there was a time where I didn’t have any children and I really, really, wanted to have kids.

[00:05:09] In fact, my very first pregnancy, I lost in my second trimester and it was a little confusing why I ended up losing that pregnancy. And it was really painful. And so I wasn’t really sure if I was ever going to be able to carry a baby full term. And so now I’ve got these other kids, grateful, super grateful for all the kids that I have, but there have been times in my life where I’ve been really frustrated as a parent.

[00:05:32] Not necessarily in a conversation. I don’t do this to myself while I’m having a frustrating conversation with one of my kids. It’s usually when I take a step back and I’m trying to analyze the situation and I tell myself, well, you should be grateful. like, I know they’re challenging right now, but you should be grateful.

[00:05:48] You should be grateful for the rest of your life. These little kids are miracles. They’re amazing. And you should be grateful every minute of the day. That is not helpful because what we end up doing is minimizing [00:06:00] our current situation. We end up sweeping the, the current emotions that we have, whether it’s frustration or anger or sadness or whatever it is, we try to minimize those things with a gratitude.

[00:06:14] Listen, I’m always grateful for my kids, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t be frustrated or angry in the moment. right. And it’s funny because I do this, I kind of flip the script on this as well, when I’m sassy back. Right. And I mouth off to them, I’m like, and you should be grateful. right. Right. So like I said, this is not helpful because you’re trying to feel better by minimizing your current situation and the current emotions that we have. What I wanna offer to you is you can make space for all of the things that are going on.

[00:06:53] Of course, you can be grateful for your kids. You can also hold space at the same time [00:07:00] for the frustration or whatever emotion is coming up that you’re feeling right now.

[00:07:04] You don’t have to minimize that. Just allow yourself to be exactly where you’re at, whether you’re disappointed or worried or whatever. Okay. Give yourself space to feel, give yourself space to understand what’s going on before you try to move forward.

[00:07:24] Okay. The second thing where I see this popping up is we try to motivate ourselves with a should thought. For example, you sit down on the couch after a really long day, and you’re trying to just take a little break, but your brain says to you, you should get to work. You should start dinner, you should do the dishes, you know, whatever it is, you should fold the laundry, whatever. Again, we feel like garbage, right? Or we try to talk ourselves into a goal by telling ourselves we should want this.

[00:07:57] I should get to the gym. [00:08:00] Listen. I love to go to the gym. I do. I love to go to the gym. I’m there often, sometimes multiple times a day doing a workout and then teaching a yoga class. I love to go to the gym, but not when I tell myself that I should go to the gym, I’d rather poke my eyes out than listen to that.

[00:08:18] Right. For me, it has the opposite effect. And so I think sometimes we try to motivate ourselves from a should which makes us feel guilty about something. Guilt isn’t motivating. Ever.

[00:08:32] It’s not motivating when we tell ourselves this it’s not motivating when we try to talk to somebody else about what they should do either. So just this little side note, you can put a pin in that for later, but I think sometimes we try to use this as a motivator to try to be a quote unquote, better person, a better mom, a better wife, whatever it is that we’re trying to achieve and it’s, it’s not helpful.[00:09:00] I’m not saying that you can’t want what it is that you want. You can still want to go to the gym, but let’s change that conversation so that you’re not shoulding all over yourself to get there.

[00:09:13] Okay, just tell yourself the truth.

[00:09:15] If you wanna make healthy dinners, for example, tell yourself the truth, but don’t tell yourself you should eat healthier. Right? The truth is, is I want to eat healthier. I want my kids to be healthy. I want to set a good example for them around the food that I prepare, like all of those things, but the conversation that I have sometimes when I tell myself you should make dinner just doesn’t feel good. Just tweak the conversation a little bit so it feels better. It’s more motivating. Which is ultimately what it is that you want. Right. Okay.

[00:09:50] Another place that this shows up that I want you to be mindful about is when we’re thinking about other people. When we tell ourselves they should be different. This [00:10:00] often comes up in coaching when someone’s talking about a spouse or when somebody’s talking about one of their kids or a sister-in-law sometimes that shows up too. And I wanna say that this is tough because we are naturally judgemental people, right?

[00:10:15] I have rarely met a person that doesn’t have judgments about things. And I think we are culturally conditioned to think that people should show up a certain way based off of the things that we value. So you all know, I highly value showing up and it totally rubs me wrong sometimes when people don’t show up. If they say they’re going to do something and they don’t do it’s like fingernails on the chalkboard for me, because I have this thought, but they should, they should show up. Well, the truth is they’re not, they’re not showing up. And so this thought that I have not only doesn’t feel good because there’s a should in there, it’s not even accurate. People should do what it is that they [00:11:00] feel like is best.

[00:11:02] That’s the reality of it. and that gives us the opportunity to manage our mind around all the other humans about what we think that they should be doing. That is the opportunity. If we try to put a lot of our time and energy into controlling other people, it just doesn’t work out very well because people don’t wanna be controlled.

[00:11:22] That is something that I want you to think about anytime that you think somebody else should be doing something differently. I want you to question that.

[00:11:30] All right. I’ve got a little bonus in here. I know that the title says three sneaky shoulds but there’s one more that I wanna talk about.

[00:11:37] And that has to do with when people should on us. And this happens in two ways. This happens when they actually vocalize a should. "You should write a book." "You should start a nonprofit" and they tell you what they think you should be doing with your life and with your time.

[00:11:56] And then the thing that we think they [00:12:00] think we should be doing. They don’t actually vocalize it. So this comes from my people pleasing. When I think other people think I should be doing something. My mom thinks I should be doing something different with my life or my spouse thinks I should be doing something different with my life is actually rarely comes up in my marriage cuz it never seems like he’s thinking any should about what I should be doing with my life. I think because he is just so laid back and I know he’s really proud of me, so I don’t think these actually come from him, but they can.

[00:12:31] And in your mind, you might have a conversation about what your spouse thinks you should be doing with your life. Or what other people think that we should be doing or how we should be showing up or how we should be running our business or running our home or how we should parent, like all of those things come up in conversations that we have in our minds about something that we are ultimately guessing at, or even making up.

[00:12:57] We don’t really even know if somebody is thinking [00:13:00] those things. So let’s just say somebody says something to you about what you should be doing. and I know for a long time, this used to bother me so much. But now I’m kind of in a space like they can totally think that. They can totally think that about my life. Because I spend so much time being intentional about what I want to be doing in my life and aligning my choices with those wants, these rarely bother me anymore.

[00:13:29] And I think also it has to do with, I’ve just let a lot of this stuff go. So I want you to know that anytime we are concerned about what other people think we should be doing with our lives. That has everything to do with what we’re making it mean it has nothing to do with what they said or what we think they think.

[00:13:50] So if somebody comes up to me for example, and says, "Janeen, you should start a dog walking business." I don’t care at all about a dog working [00:14:00] business. That one is just gonna roll off my back super easy. But if somebody comes up and they tell me something that I should be doing as a parent, or I should be doing in my own business, I can also let that roll off my back just as easily.

[00:14:14] It’s sometimes trickier for us to do this. It rubs us the wrong way because of what it is that we’re thinking about not because of what it is that they said.

[00:14:23] So if this is a trigger for you, I want you to just ask yourself what you’re making it mean. What are you making it mean that they told you what you should be doing with your life? it’s usually along the lines of I’m not doing it good enough. And then you can just decide, is that true? Or is there some improvement for me to make?

[00:14:39] Is this a suggestion that I want to internalize and take on moving forward? Yes or no? And if it’s not, and you can just let it go. If it is then make the changes that you’d like to make, but not because you think you should. And not because they said so. Because you want to. okay

[00:14:57] so I have a few little [00:15:00] tips here and I’ve been kind of giving some tips along the way, but I want you to just check in. Anytime you tell yourself you should, or you hear a should from someone else

[00:15:10] I want you to just check in. Do you want to? What is it that you really want? Is this in alignment with what it is that you want? And if so, how can you tell yourself that’s what you want in a different way? Instead of you should go to the gym, how about I wanna go to the gym? Okay. It makes a big difference.

[00:15:29] You know, one of the things that was recently really challenging for me, and this was a podcast that I did a few weeks back when my sister-in-law passed away and I was making some big decisions. Am I gonna go to my family reunion? Am I gonna travel to be at the funeral with my family? I feel like I’m a really loyal person and I like that about myself. And sometimes I have these conversations in my mind based off of what I feel like I should do. And so in that moment, I noticed, I [00:16:00] was telling myself, you should go to your family reunion, because that was the plan that you made. That was the commitment that you made to your aunt and the rest of your family members. that you were going to be there

[00:16:09] and that is important to me. But when I got really quiet and I asked myself, what is it that I want to do? Then I was able to see, what I really want to do is I really want to take a moment to celebrate my sister-in-law. I want to be at her funeral. I want to be with my husband. I want to be with my kids.

[00:16:27] And so when I was able to alleviate that should conversation in my mind, I was able to get really clear on what it was that I wanted. And the way that I did that was I recognized I was telling myself a should. So get really curious and ask yourself, is that what you really want?

[00:16:43] And if it is, just talk to yourself about it in a different way. Okay. The next thing is, tell yourself the truth. This kind of goes along with what I was just saying. Instead of I should get to the gym today. You can tell yourself I’m excited to get to the gym today or I wanna exercise [00:17:00] and take really good care of myself, but today I don’t want to because I want to stay home and read my book, or I want to talk with my friend or I wanna do something different. And then from there, make a decision: but I’m gonna do it anyway. I’m gonna get to the gym because I wanna be the kind of person that makes this a priority or I’m gonna pass today because I hurt my back and I like that reason why. I don’t wanna go to the gym because I’m gonna injure myself further. Either way, don’t beat yourself up and don’t tell yourself you should. Make a decision. Like your decision. And move forward with that decision.

[00:17:34] All right. The next tip that I have is be intentional with your time and less reactive. This kind of goes back to what I was saying when other people should on us, when they tell us what we should be doing with our time. Make a plan for your life and follow through on that plan. Be intentional about what you’re doing and what you’re up to and try to stay less reactive. So less time [00:18:00] spontaneously and impulsively on your phone. Or less time doing something that you feel like, okay, this was not part of my plan today.

[00:18:06] And yet, here we are, now, what are we gonna do? You can be intentional from that minute. Don’t tell yourself I should have been doing something different. Learn from the mistake and move forward.

[00:18:17] The next little tip that I have is do less external investigative work and more internal investigative work. So what I mean by that is do less searching on the Googles for answers and do more self exploration for things. This will help you make decisions from what it is that you want and less decisions on what it is that you feel like you should be doing, because you’re influenced by what it is that you’re seeing.

[00:18:44] You’re seeing it on social media, you’re seeing it and what your, your friends are doing with their lives. You’re kind of tuning into more of that cultural messaging about what we should be doing with our lives and less than what it is that you really want. So you do this by asking yourself questions, like, how do I want to show up?[00:19:00]

[00:19:00] What is it that I ultimately want out of my life? And what am I doing right now? How can I align those two things to be more in sync with each other: the things that I ultimately want to do and how I’m actually spending my time? So when we get quiet and we make those kinds of decisions, we do less shoulding because the way that we’re spending our time is more intentional.

[00:19:22] All right. My friends, that is what I have for you today on the podcast. I hope you enjoyed this episode. So two things for you. If you enjoyed this episode, I would love it if you shared it with a friend, if you’ve been recently having a conversation with a friend about shoulds, this would be the perfect episode to share with them. Or if it just made a difference for you, just share it somewhere, share it with somebody that you feel like could make a difference in their life as well. And I would so appreciate it if you did that.

[00:19:49] All right. The last thing that I wanna say here is if you would like help implementing the content that I talk about on the podcast in your life, if you’re loving this, if you think it’s amazing, if [00:20:00] you’re not sure exactly what next steps to take, I would love to talk to you about working together one on one. We get done with so many things in a six month period of time, it’s gonna blow your mind.

[00:20:11] So if that sounds like something that you would be interested in, I’d love to talk to you about it further. Just go to janeenalley.com/programs and book a call with me on my one-on-one link. Just scroll down to the bottom of the page. There’s a little link there. Click on it and book a discovery call with me.

[00:20:28] I would love to talk to you. So head over there to janeenalley.com/programs to book a call. All right my friends that is all that I have for you guys today on the podcast. I hope you guys have a beautiful week and we’ll talk to you guys soon. Take care. Bye.

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