Shoulding All Over Myself

It’s September – the time of year when everything is in flux and there is inevitably so much going on. It’s exciting and stimulating but can also be seriously overwhelming. I often find that when I’m going through periods of busy change in my life, my internal dialogue changes from a usually even-keeled calm voice of pretty reasonable reason to a one sided conversation of SHOULD. Instead of doing what I want to be doing, I find myself fixating on what I should be doing. For example: while I might prefer to take a night in to myself to recharge, relax with roommates and cook myself a delicious dinner, I instead should myself into going out to a social engagement that I’m not that excited to be at. Instead of trusting my gut and only taking on four courses and one or two extracurricular commitments, I should myself into taking on a fifth class plus a dance class and a lab and a third, fourth, fifth out of school commitment. I may not want to be living the day-to-day realities of these choices but I tell myself that it’s what I should be doing.

I end up shoulding alllll over myself.

The truth is, it’s so easy to only do what you think you SHOULD be doing. Whether it’s what our peers, parents, partners, or professors are telling us, everyone has an opinion about what we should be doing and sometimes it feels easier to just do what others say we should do – it presents a path of less resistance. Although there may be occasional ease in following the currents of should, I challenge myself during this time of new beginnings and seasonal change to instead reorient to the want. I’m trying to ask myself what do I want to be doing rather than giving in to the chorus of what I should be doing. Sometimes this results in a rather confusing internal dialogue but that’s ok. Other times, I may not be able to just do what I want – I have to do what it is I should be doing and that is ok too. Just the exercise of acknowledging the difference between should and want is a simple change that has shifted my perspective greatly. Give it a try and let me know what you think!


One thought on “Shoulding All Over Myself

  1. What a great point, Emily! It reminded me of this app called “Track Your Happiness” It sends you periodic text messages asking if what you are doing right now is something you want to do or something you have to do. It’s a great way to keep tabs on how you spend your day.

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