I was working from home today. And for some reason, I had The Dr. Oz Show on TV. I like to have "noise" in my house at all times, even if I'm not paying attention to it (I realize that's an odd habit, but for some reason silence bothers me more than noise). So at some point, my attention actually tuned into what they were saying for some reason. I think it was fate. The Higher Power was telling me what I needed to talk about in my next blog (not to sound over-dramatic or anything. ha!)
Here's the topic: The word should.
I can hear you thinking, "Wow, now that's a deep concept, Carol...thanks for enlightening me..." #sarcasm
Sure, it doesn't sound deep. But just wait until I show you how deep it is.
Let me digress a bit and tell you how difficult it is for me to force myself to do things that I don't want to do. I know most of us feel this way from time to time, or even on a regular basis. And I don't mean to imply that I am a hoarder (even though I hate cleaning) or that I fail to wake up and take my children to school (I am really not a morning person). But I have noticed that I do procrastinate on doing the things that don't make me happy (just ask my family about my "laundry-doing ability" ... it's very sad).
I have always wondered why I don't do laundry more often. It's because I despise it. It's boring, tedious, and endless. Sometimes I even think to myself, "What's wrong with me? Why don't I keep up with my laundry?" But then I have to catch myself and rephrase it and say, "I wonder why I do this?" (the first statement implied that I am flawed, the second implied that I need to do some self-reflection...big difference).
Okay, okay, just so you know, I am a perfectly functional person. I never send my kids to school in dirty clothes. They might not always be folded and in their drawers, but I can always go down to the laundry room and fish out some unfolded clean clothes for them every day.
But this blog is not about laundry.
It's about the 'shoulds' of life. Now that I think about it, laundry is a bad example. Sorry about that. Because, yes, we all need to do laundry.
But here are four reasons why you should take the word 'should' out of your vocabulary:
1. The word 'should' implies that you don't really want to do it.
2. If you don't have to do it, then don't.
3. If you do something just because you think you should (and it's not absolutely necessary), it decreases your happiness.
4. If it doesn't make you happy, then don't do it.
Unless you absolutely, positively have to do something, then don't do it!!
Some examples are:
- Serving as PTO president (just because you are an over-achiever and/or perfectionist)
- Going to a co-worker's party (even though you don't like him/her)
- Make gourmet meals for your family every day (if you hate cooking)
- Put your kids in every sport imaginable because you don't want to look like a loser parent (if you don't enjoy it)
- Spending time with your "Debbie Downer" friend (if she/he drags you down...like all "Debbie Downer" people do)
I could go on and on, but then you would stop reading because the list would be endless.
But I think I have made my point. At least I hope so.
Do what you love. Do things that make you happy. Look to your gut and your intuition for whether you 'should' do something or not. If it feels good, then do it! If you get a sick feeling in the pit of your stomach, then don't!
Meanwhile, I sure wish I had a "Laundry Fairy" to come to my house to rid me of all my 'shoulds.' But unfortunately, I haven't found one yet. Any takers? Yeah, I thought not.
Anyway, think about all of your 'shoulds' this week. And only do what you absolutely have to do. Everything else is optional!! You just need to remember that :)
For as long as I can remember, I have hated hearing a recording of my voice. "Hate" probably isn't even a strong enough word. I literally cringed every time I heard it and said to myself in horror, "Is that what I really sound like?!?! People actually have to listen to that?!?!" Years later, after I talked to enough people, I discovered that everyone feels that way. That made me feel a little better.
About 7 years ago, I started co-hosting a radio show once a month. As painful as it was in the beginning, I would occasionally go back and listen to the shows afterwards. And much to my surprise, I got used to the sound of my voice. Not only did I get used to it, the sound stopped bothering me at all. It kind of became normal.
Fast forward to 2011 - the first time I saw myself on television. YIKES!!! And I thought hearing my voice was bad. Seeing myself was even worse!! I couldn't believe all the crazy facial expressions I made. And how asymmetrical my face was. And once again, I exclaimed to myself in horror, "How can anyone ever look at me when I talk?!? I must drive everyone insane!! I bet my students want to run out of the class screaming with all those weird facial expressions and hand gestures I make!!" When I told a friend of mine how I felt about it, he replied, "Carol, that's just who you are!!" In other words, he didn't think anything about it. And that got me to thinking that maybe I was the only one who ever gave it a second thought.
Fast forward again ... to 2014. I'm now making educational and motivational videos for eHow.com and Inspiyr.com. And even though I've seen myself on television many times, I was still horrified at myself when I watch the videos. That is ... until ... I watched them over.
I know I'm making myself sound like a narcissist. Honestly, I'm anything but a narcissist. But the reason I did it is because I literally could not stop analyzing my face ... even though it was causing me angst. Now I sound like a obsessive-compulisive masochist. But I'm not that either.
Here's the funny thing. After I watched the videos over and over, I no longer cringed. In fact, I eventually thought, "Hey, I don't look or sound so bad. I guess it's no big deal after all."
So that got me to thinking that everyone should do that. Yes, it's weird. I know. Yes, you feel self-absorbed and cheesy (no pun intended). But here are the 4 reasons why I think you should put yourself through the agony of watching yourself on video over and over:
1. You face your fears and self-doubt.
Admit it. You have some fears and self-doubt. Don't we all? If you don't, then congratulations! You have just won the biggest prize in the universe entitled "Perfect Self-Esteem"!! But for the rest of us, we don't like to confront our insecurities. And many of our insecurities are based in how we look. Watching yourself on video forces you to really look at yourself.
2. You get used to it - and your fears and self-doubt start to fade.
After a while, you realize it's not too bad. You stop obsessing. So what if your face is asymmetrical or you have a few wrinkles. Trust me, no one cares about your little "imperfections" nearly as much as you do!
3. You get to see yourself as other people see you.
Since you finally realize that no one is probably judging you nearly as harshly as you're judging yourself, you get to see yourself through other people's eyes. What I mean by that is that you eventually end up taking off your "overly critical glasses" and learn to just relax and chill out about it.
4. You finally make peace with yourself and how you look/sound.
After you watch yourself enough, you come to the place where you kind of shrug your shoulders and wonder why you ever made such a big horrific deal about it. Because really, you can't change how you look or sound. Okay, you can have plastic surgery like Michael Jackson, but who would want to do that? And who has that kind of money anyway? It's much better to just make peace with yourself.
So I hope I have inspired you to watch yourself on video. As cheesy as it may sound (sorry about the pun again), take the challenge. Try it. Even though it might be painful at first, it will be worth it in the long run!!
To start you off, I am sharing one of the videos that helped me. So say "cheese" and make some pretty videos of yourself this week!! :)
The other day, my 10-year-old son came home from school and told me that a girl had asked him to be her boyfriend (oh my how times have changed!). They have been friends for a while now, but he never had any interest in her romantically (I can't believe I just wrote that about a 10-year-old). Anyway, when she asked him
to "go out" with her, he said, "Let me think about it." The next day, when she asked for an answer, he said no. It was painful for him to hurt his friend's feelings, but I told him that he needed to be true to himself.
So a mutual friend of theirs asked why he turned her down. My son said he didn't want to tell him why. But the boy kept pushing and pushing until my son said to him, "Okay, I'll tell you. But you have to PROMISE not to tell her. Do you PROMISE?" The boy promised. So he admitted that he just didn't think she was "attractive."
Well, that was a mistake.
Of course, the boy went and told the girl that my son doesn't think she's pretty. And, of course, the girl burst into tears and basically hated my son for it.
And so when my son got off the bus that day, he burst into tears himself when he walked through the door. It was painful for him that he hurt his friend's feelings, because he had no intention of doing so. And it also hurt him that his other friend betrayed his trust and broke his promise.
I tell you this story not to bore you, make you laugh, nor to catch you up on my family gossip (although I have many more funny stories I could share with you). I tell you this story because it is representative of something that probably most of us have been through at one time or another in life: (1) hurting other
people's feelings unintentionally and (2) having a friend betray us.
So I came up with 4 lessons we can all learn (or remember) from my son's unfortunate experience.
Here are 4 things you should remember ... always:
1. Watch what you say.
I’m sure you remember your mother telling you, “Think before you speak!” Well, moms are wise. They know what they’re talking about. Once it’s out there, you can’t take it back! Sure, you can try, but it’s not possible.
2. Don’t trust everyone.
I had to learn this one the hard way. I grew up in a very trustworthy family. You could count on them –if they said it, they meant it. But I am one of the lucky ones – relatively speaking. I’m lucky that I had such a great family. However, that got me into some situations later in my life that didn’t work out so well for me. I trusted people’s word, and they didn’t follow through. I finally learned not to trust everyone. I think I just learned later in life than most people. But better late than never, I guess. Right?
3. Your words have a long-lasting effect on people.
“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” That famous quote couldn’t be more wrong! Words sometimes hurt more than physical wounds. At least the physical wounds heal themselves. But if you say something that tears down someone’s self-esteem, it could stay with them
4. If you hurt someone, own up to it. Apologize and make it right.
No one is perfect – we all make mistakes. That’s not the problem. The problem is that a lot of people don’t take personal responsibility for their actions. They like to point the fingers at others and/or make up excuses for why they aren’t wrong. That doesn’t work. So if you’re one of those people, stop doing
My son’s story has a happy ending. I told him that he needed to go up to her the next day – face to face - and apologize. He needed to tell her that she was pretty, and that he didn’t mean the words he said yesterday. I wasn’t sure if she’d buy it, but I didn’t want him or me to incur bad karma by ruining the little girl’s self esteem. I could just hear it in my head. When she’s 35, someone asks her, “Why don’t you think
you’re beautiful?” And she replies, “Because when I was in 5th grade, this boy I had a crush on said I wasn’t pretty!” I didn’t want that “blood” on my hands or my son’s. I want to us to leave people happier and feeling good about themselves. Not the opposite.
Even though the girl ignored him and wouldn’t let him apologize face-to-face, he wrote her a note instead. When she read it, she got a big smile on her face, and said to him, “Okay. I forgive you!”
And now they are friends again.
Not all stories like this have a happy ending. But if you keep these 4 things in mind every day, hopefully you won’t run into any unfortunate circumstances like my son did this week.
With that said, go out and make people feel good about themselves today! And feel good about YOURSELF too!
Have a great week! :)
I know a family who is going through a very, very unfortunate situation. Their adult child has gotten in trouble with the law and is currently in jail. Everyone saw this coming because she had been headed down this path for some time. The parents tried to save her - everyone did. They paid for her bankruptcy, her new apartment (so she could start her life over), food, gas...you name it. And now the adult child is expecting her parents to not only bail her out of jail, but also to pay for a good lawyer so she doesn't have to spend 3-15 years in prison. And they probably will. Meanwhile, I'm sitting here on the outside thinking, "This is how she got there. No one has ever told her 'no' - she has never had any consequences to her actions. She has a sense of entitlement and didn't appreciate anything they did for her." I know that may sound harsh, but I know the family well enough to be pretty confident that I'm right. And now the poor family is facing selling their house and/or downsizing just to afford her impending legal fees.
So that got me thinking about: (1) Personal responsibility and (2) Being used.
I use this story (no pun intended...ha) as an extreme example of these two common problems. And I have a pet peeve for both of them. Well, a pet peeve for people who won't take personal responsibility, not for the ones who do ... just thought I should clarify! :)
Anyway, ever since I became a mother, I have constantly stressed to my children taking personal responsibility for everything in your life. I think I've done a pretty good job too because I think I may have created my own monsters. While it's mostly a positive thing, here is a frequent conversation that goes on in my house after we eat dinner and we're cleaning up:
Boy #1: "You need to put away the milk because you were the one who took it out of the refrigerator. It's your responsibility."
Boy #2: "Well, I'm not putting away the ketchup because you took it out. That's your job."
Boy #1: "Mom!!!! He's not cleaning up his half!! He needs to do his half!! It's his responsibility!!"
I could go on and on, but I think you get the point. My boys are so keenly aware of personal responsibility that it's almost annoying. Well, let me rephrase that. So far, they are very keen on the personal responsibility of others. And they mostly take responsibility for their actions too, but we're still working on that. They're a work in progress! Anyway, like I said, I created my own monsters, but I hope to God that they take this sense of responsibility with them for the rest of their lives and use it in a positive way.
If other people don't take personal responsibility and expect you to take up their slack, then in my opinion, you are being used. Sure, it's nice for us to help people out and do things we don't have to do just because we are being helpful and loving. That's beautiful. But when it be comes a habit, pattern, and expectation from the other person, then I think that turns into using.
So if you suddenly discover that you might be getting used, what can you do to stop it? Well, it's actually pretty simple. Here are 5 things you can do:
#1 Say no.
I know you're thinking, "Duh. Thanks for that secret, unknown piece of information." Yeah, it's obvious. But is it easily done by a lot of people? NO!!! Put yourself first. You don't have to say yes to everything. Only say yes if it feels right and good.
#2 Tell them why you're saying no.
Usually, when you explain things, people will have a better chance of understanding and agreeing with you. Even if they don't agree with you, at least they know that you have your reasons and you're not just saying no to be mean.
#3 Be nice but firm in telling them no.
You don't have to go off on a rampage and tell them what a selfish loser they are. You can tell them that while you hope they get what they need, you are not the person who will provide it for them. Wish them luck! (with sincerity ... not in a nasty way).
#4 Stick with your 'no' - don't change your mind.
Don't ever, ever, ever go back on your 'no!' If you do, they won't ever believe you again when you say no. Say it and MEAN IT!! This is one of the most difficult parts for most people. But you can do it!!
#5 Tell them that you will have a better relationship because you say no. You will not resent them anymore.
They may not know that you have had resentment building up inside of you because of their actions. So tell them!! And let them know that this is a blessing in disguise. From now on, you will be able to let go of the resentment and have a much happier, honest relationship with them because you have drawn your boundaries.
Remember if you choose to still get used, then you have no one to blame but yourself. As the saying goes, "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me!"
But above all else, love yourself enough to say "NO, I WILL NOT BE USED ANYMORE!!" Actually, you will be doing them a spiritual favor by teaching them that they need to give and not just take.
Okay, everyone practice saying this along with me..."NO!!!!!! I refuse to be used!!"
Have a fabulous week! :)
Dr. Carol Morgan &
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