Perhaps somewhere along the path of your journey from a life of obligation and duty to a life based in your own personal desire and freedom and sovereignty, you came across the saying: “stop shoulding on yourself” so you can rediscover what you want.
And, while that is an important stage and phase of your development, it’s not the end game.
Once you’ve moved through the stage of “should” driving you from the motivation of safety, security or fear and discovered who you really are, and what you really want, please do bring “should” back into your life in a healthy way.
There are just some things we “should” do because they are what’s right, they are what’s based in love, they are what’s based in the truth of who and what we need to become in order to live into a civilization that can successfully transition from an old paradigm, win/lose consciousness that is leading us into extinction into a new paradigm consciousness that can thrive.
Watch this video of Jordan Greenhall, Daniel Schmachtenberger, and Forrest Landry about the Transition times we are in now, if you want to learn more about this moment of time and what we need to do to make it beyond extinction.
Our conditioning (the epigentic inheritance we carry through our DNA) tells us to operate in many ways that are simply unsupportive of a thriving future. We are the ancestral and genetic survivors of a paradigm of zero-sum games, and conquering, and survival.
Had our parents (and their’s before them, and so on), not learned to survive in this win/lose paradigm, we would not be here right now. So we can be thankful for the parts of ourselves that got us here — we survived, we won.
And, at the same time that we can hold gratitude that we survived, we can also be aware that if we continue to operate from that paradigm, we will annihilate all of Life on this planet.
We must find the “both/and” of personal sovereignty and collective unity. Knowing what we “should” do, even when we don’t want to do it (because our conditioning directs us otherwise) is a critical path toward evolution, awakening and a thriving future.
As you are in this inquiry around when your own “should” is coming from a healthy or not health place, it’s extremely helpful to know where you are along the scale of your own psychological development and consciousness.
While there are many great models out there (Wilber, Graves, etc.), I found this model of psychological development from Richard Barrett of the Barrett Values Centre to be the most clear and easy to understand.
If you are still in the stages of Surviving, Conforming or Differentiating, your “should” may not actually be trustworthy because it’s coming from a place of trying to meet needs of survival, safety and security that are not necessarily truly in alignment with your higher order values.
Oftentimes, the “should” you are operating from at these stages is very young and very scared.
If you keep operating from these “shoulds”, you will remain stuck in this young, scared, survival based place and your choices, motivations and decisions will reflect fear and scarcity and survival.
Individuation here is critical. During the individuation phase of your life, you will need to reject “should’ing on yourself” to find what’s actually true for you.
This is part of the process of self-actualization and discovering who you really are beyond your DNA and the conditioning you’ve inherited from parents, media and society.
On the other side of this individuation, you will have found your truth, your inherent goodness, and your values.
From this place, please do “should” all over yourself as much as possible because now your should is coming from a place of integrity and contribution that is meaningful and whole and contributing to the world we all want to live into. Your should from a post-individuation reality is trustworthy.
It’s based in your truth. It’s based in your values. It’s based in your own internal knowing of that which is good, true and beautiful.
To get there, it would be extremely valuable for you to consciously map and understand where you are on the stages of your own development as much as possible, and begin to see that which is conditioned into you from a need for security, a place of scarcity and fear and that which is truly your choice from a desire to create more love in the world.
Most people have no idea what motivates them, and are operating on a false quest for what they might call happiness, and never quite getting there. It’s unconscious. It’s habitual. It may even seem as if you have no choice.
If that might be where you are, then, yes, stop “shoulding on yourself” and see what emerges through you.
However, if you have already stopped shoulding on yourself, discovered your truth, feel secure in your values, and know that you are motivated from a place of your own inherent truth, good and beauty, then please do overcome the parts of you that are not in alignment with that and should all over yourself as much as you can.
Once you have begun to self-actualize, and individuated from the young parts of you who are deeply conditioned and wounded and scared, you have realized that these young “parts” are part of you and they have needs, but they are not YOU.
From this place, you are able to hold your parts, in loving, conscious awareness, and self-compassion. And, from there we actually do need you to “should” on yourself and consciously choose to BE who you really are.
Thank you for your commitment to growth, willingness to see what’s true, and to creating a world that works for everyone.
If you’d like to get more connected to what it might look like for you to live into your unique role in a world that works for everyone, here’s a short guided meditation that will help you to remember who you are, why you are here, and what’s really yours to do. ❤