It’s no secret that I’ve been going to see a counselor for a few months now. I may not have mentioned it here, but it’s something I’m proud of doing (finally).
In our second session, my counselor said something that has kind of stuck with me.
“Who is the one who would always say “you should”? ”
Turns out it was me.
As a kid, I was always putting pressure on myself, doing the things that I “should” do. As I reached adulthood, I got more and more annoyed with the “shoulds”.
Someone asks for something? I should do it.
Got an invite to a party? I should go.
Go to college? I should go.
Even though I didn’t want to, I spent a lot of time sacrificing my own needs and wants because I “should”. I was a door mat. I went places I didn’t want to go. I went to college 300 miles away because I kept being told that I was too smart not to go to college. So I felt I should.
I hated it. I hated feeling like I didn’t exist… but I did it for years.
When LB and I got together, I made a deal with myself. I wasn’t going to mess up this great thing by doing things that “I should”. Only what “I want”.
Which worked great in a lot of ways. We compromise on things, but my own identity remained solid. If I didn’t want to do something I felt I could speak up and say eh, I don’t really feel like it.
It was liberating.. It was wonderful!
And like many things in my life, I took it too far.
I should eat healthy meals, get to work on time, and plan my day.
I should get my oil changed on time, clean up the back yard, pick up after myself.
I don’t do these things because somewhere I’ve gotten this little voice that WHINES when I “should” do something.
I pondered this over breakfast this morning… I was thinking “I should go to karate class tonight” (it’s been too long.. AGAIN… look! Guilt! yay! .. noo.. boo…boo..)
and the internal battle began. ..
First the feeling of “meh”
Then the “but you should go… you are always bitching about how you are getting fat again” <– judgement.. isn’t that great! ?
and onto more “meh”
I can’t begin to describe the feeling in the pit of my stomach whenever I say “should”. I get stubborn. I get childish.
I get physically ill. Nauseated and borderline weepy. .. and then I get mad that I’m having these feelings.. and then I get the guilt wave. Especially since, I usually say to LB “I’m going to karate tonight” and then when 6:30 rolls around and I’m still sitting on my ass and she says “are you going to karate tonight” I say “well, I should“.
After thinking about this today, I realized that I need to think about what I WANT not what I think I should do.
Do I want to go to karate?
Yes. Yes I do.
So I texted LB today and I said “I want to go to karate tonight so lets have dinner early”.
It’s such a small step but actually putting it in “writing” solidified it for me.
Now, instead of dreading the rush home, the walking into class where people are likely to be all “hey where you been?” and dealing with that nonsense, I’m drinking water, eating a good meal and getting excited about going.
It’s amazing to me how just a simple change in perception can wipe away all the emotional dreck that goes with “expectations”. After all, I got into karate for ME. All I needed to do was remind myself of it.