Disclaimer: This blog post is not intended to diagnose or treat any illness of any kind and should not replace the care of a medical professional or licensed therapist.
Have you ever done or said something because you felt pressured to – because it was something you “should” do or say? Perhaps you shared an opinion or made a decision, then had a cringe moment later because you really “shouldn’t have.” Of course! These phrases are so woven into our vocabulary and social construct that I don’t think we even realize how often we self-censor.
(Now would be a good time to note that I’m not talking about morality. Ok, carry on.)
In my therapist’s office last week, a space in which I can share literally anything, I found myself censoring my own thoughts with the caveat “I should.” My therapist looked at me and gently corrected me, reminding me that there really is no “should” about anything. I simply feel what I feel. That’s it.
Removing “should” from the equation erases the pressure and gives you a chance to listen to your body. Where are you feeling your thoughts and emotions in your body? By allowing that connection to happen, you are able to better process them and come to conclusions that are true to you.
How can you do this? Start by being aware. Anxiety or overwhelm are excellent keys that you’re feeling pressured by a “should” of some sort. When you notice this overwhelm – or, when you notice that you’re getting wrapped up in all the things you “should” be doing – stop for just a second and take a breath. Ask your body what to do next. Doing this will not only provide you with some necessary calm, but it will also provide you with clarity. By dropping into your body and slowing down your mind, you will connect with yourself and have a much clearer idea of where to go next.
Try practicing this slowly throughout your day (being self-isolated due to COVID-19 will give you lots of time to practice) and see how you feel.