Not because you “should”

My cliff notes from Not because you “should”:

Stop doing things because you “should”. Should can easily lead to feelings of guilt, obligation which you resent, and/or inadequacy.

Using the example of someone who stops thinking they should clean their room:

[E]ither (a) you stop forcing yourself to clean the room, and you realize you don’t actually care about having a clean room, and then your room stays messy and that’s fine because you don’t care; or (b) you stop forcing yourself to clean the room, and then you get a bit worried, because some part of you actually wants the room cleaned, so you listen to that part of yourself, and you work with it, and you find a time to clean the room because you want to.

You’re likely to do more good if you want than because you “should”.

A thought experiment to underscore how negative “should” can be as a motivator:

Imagine promising yourself that you’re never going to do something just because you “should,” ever again. How does that make you feel?

Do you feel relieved? If so, then you were probably putting your “should” labels on the wrong things and forcing yourself to do things that weren’t actually best.

This post is part of the thread: Replacing Guilt Cliffs Notes – an ongoing story on this site. View the thread timeline for more context on this post.

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