I recently took some time off from my blog to recharge and relax. As much as I want to call it a mini-vacation, I really just didn’t have a desire to write. Sure other things were going on in my life that caused my enthusiasm to write to wane but really I just wanted a break( not like I haven’t taken plenty during the life of this blog). The one thing that kept coming up was what I “should” be doing since I wasn’t writing. Then it became ” I should” be writing. “Should” actually was popping up everywhere, like what was in that moment was incorrect for some reason and I can’t help but wonder if “The should game” is really messing up everyone’s life.
Full confession, I had been thinking about “the should game” since before I took my vacation. I had been around new coworkers and reconnected with long-time friends, all talking about what should be in their lives that weren’t. For some, it was how hard they were working and how that “should” afford them special consideration with time off and promotions. For others, it was how they checked all the “correct” boxes in life and they “should” be further along with family and finances( I can admit to feeling this one too). Most of the “should” statements come after or in conjunction with a should not statement. They are upset things aren’t working out the way they planned, as they feel they did ‘A’ expecting ‘B’ was coming because they sacrificed and worked so hard on ‘A’ and the end of all that was what they felt ‘C’ would be but ‘C’ wasn’t what they felt it “should” be. Breaking down the last sentence, many people still hold the sentiment A+B=C with an expectation of what C “should” look like. As I’ve fallen into this category still from time to time, I understand it but rarely are expectations on the nose, and more often than not our expectations are what really cause us the most stress and distress.
The “should game” has us trapped into not excepting what is. I’m fearful in saying this because I don’t want anyone to stop striving for a goal. Doing whatever ‘A” is to you will bring some form of ‘B’ and ultimately ‘C’ to you and with Right Intention, that ‘C’ will be what you need. Buddhism teaches me Right Intention( please don’t get caught up on the word Right), what comes later will be the result you need and closer to what you feel you “should” be getting in the long run. I could even invoke “The Secret”, to explain how focusing your intention and attention on the best and most positive outcome will bring you an outcome that truly works for how hard you have worked. But clinging to a picture that looks good but has no real connection to the reality you live in will do nothing but continue the blaming of others and the Universe that things didn’t go they way someone told you it “should”.
I feel I am a really thoughtful writer. I feel I am offering great food for thought, without really giving people answers because I feel the answers should come from within. I feel my blog is one more people that currently do would benefit from and I “should” have more followers. But I also know I’m not promoting hard enough to have those followers. I know I’m not consistent enough with my blog to keep the followers that have taken the time to create an account so they may receive my blog in their e-mail. I haven’t worked hard enough for the ‘C’ result I want but the current ‘C’ tells me what needs to be done. I understand many don’t believe that each time their ‘C’ doesn’t look the way they feel it “should”, it isn’t they haven’t put in the work. I know other situations in my life appeared to just be wrong even though I put in the “right” effort and busted ass to have an outcome ever self-help book, mentor, and societal sage said would happen in checking all the boxes that are provided. I really hate to say this but by stepping back, open with no ego or pride in the game, for me 100% of the time I saw why my result was actually the correct result I needed to actually get me a ‘C’ that worked for me better than what I felt I “should” have gotten.
The moment we all stop looking at life with expectations, things will turn out much better. Once “should” is eradicated from our vocabulary, I feel a weight will be lifted and those ‘C’s’ we are looking for will look much better. What is will always be, it’s time to stop fighting what is and start working with it. “Should” has us holding onto an idea of the past, not even the past. What “should” be isn’t and can’t be until we first accept what is, and then decided to work for something different, but the “Should Game” isn’t a solid, joyous, or productive game to play.
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