Stop the Shoulds and Shouldn’ts

Everyone and their dog has an opinion on what you should do. Always. For everything.. “You know what you should do?!” I hear that so much, and I’m guilty of it too. You should this… You shouldn’t that… Its seriously everywhere. 

Should means – to indicate obligation, duty, or correctness, typically when criticizing someone’s actions (webster dictionary). What hit me hard in that definition was obligation – or correctness when criticizing someone’s actions. Like our own. Usually we say.. I know, I should…. – We also give advice to others, but mostly – we put this obligation on ourselves. We correct ourselves. When we do this, the connection you’re establishing with your body is a scolding one of shoulds, shouldn’ts, bad girl, bad boy, anger at self and judgment of self . This creates more stress. 

This might surprise some of you that know me, maybe – maybe not.. But I really like to follow the rules. I can hear my best people laughing right now. Because I make up a lot of rules. But I follow those rules too – what I mean is if something is supposed to be a certain way, or research is indicating this.. I feel obligated to follow it to the T. 

I was just like this last month. My son got a frenectomy at age 2. Highly not recommended by the way. And I stressed because I literally had to follow the directions his speech therapist gave us or I thought the entire thing was going to be ruined. And there was no way in heck that I was doing that again. Anyway – right – I felt shamed into doing it because I thought I’d ruin him if I didn’t do this perfect. Which is totally not true. I mean, I needed to follow a protocol, but showing up and getting in as much I could, would have been good enough. 

With my IVF protocol, I set timers and I was literally as perfect as I could be. Down to the second. And there was one time I was like 15 minutes off and maybe gave myself a little too much of the trigger hormone and I cried on the floor uncontrollably for like 15 minutes because I thought I ruined the entire thing. I didn’t. It was just fine. I had all the eggs release just fine.

So. These rules that you make in your head. These should and shouldn’ts.. I shouldn’t drink wine while i’m TTC. I shouldn’t exercise or do adventurous things. I shouldn’t buy that two piece swim suit.. I should cut out on caffeine I should stop eating gluten, or whatever it is.. Ask yourself – who made that rule up, and what is going to happen if you break it? 

Because let me tell you this – If I could take ONE thing back from my journey with infertility it would be that I was so dang hard on myself with the shoulds and shouldn’ts.. That I forgot about who I was, what I loved and what I wanted. 

The thing about shoulds and shouldn’t.. They are usually around things in our day to day life that are things we love, or habits that we’ve created that are comforting and soothing to us. But the deal is that we try to nix them all at once. Which is absurd and unrealistic.

If I gathered up every little habit or detail in my life of what I SHOULD be doing – there would be a MONSTER of things I would need to change.

If I were to  stop having peanut butter whiskey at night. (if you haven’t had it yet – go buy it) – if i stopped having my little night cap of screwball a few nights a week, started getting up the second my alarm went off, was on time all the time, prepped my meals to bring to work, etc, etc.. if I put that SHOULDS and SHOULDN’Ts on me all at once.. I would be so hard on myself!

If we have this thought of shoulds and shouldn’ts, we put more and more pressure on ourselves. That, my friend, increases stress. And your stress hormone makes it harder to sleep, lose weight, get pregnant, focus, etc. 

So why are we so hard on ourselves? Maybe we could pick one should.. And instead of calling it a should.. Its a.. This week, you know I am going to focus on one new habit.. Maybe it is giving up a glass of wine just one night in the week. So instead of having a glass of wine 5x this next week, maybe its just 4. But just focus on that one thing. And by no means ever feel obligated or judgemental towards yourself for it. Do it because you WANT to, not because you should. Because should will get you judgment from yourself. WANT will give you grace when you make even the slightest change.

Because when it comes down to it, ladies who want a baby – you want to be a good hostess. I’m talking being a uterine host.. Thats what I mean when I say host.. And honestly, wouldn’t it be nice to just have this amazing relationship with our bodies again? For us to learn to love ourselves, and not judge ourselves with a should or shouldn’t.. But a want, and a desire? And those of you who aren’t TTC, but still fall into this never ending should and shouldn’t cycle- listen up, because this is for you too. 

I want to feel better so I am going to ____. I want to prepare my body for this, so I am going to focus on changing this one little thing.. 

Because those little changes, are going to make big waves. 

So think about it – what little change do you WANT to make today. Not SHOULD.. Don’t ever say to me .. oh I SHOULD start working out again. 

What do you WANT to feel in your body, and what is ONE small change you can make to get there?


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