It had been a rough week. Too many kids needing my attention, too much housework to needing to be done. Just a general no good, very bad week. This woman’s happiness was flailing and life was looking bleak. Over and over I vented in my head my endless frustrations. Until I realized that all my frustrations had one very interesting word in common.
Now, I realize that there are many words out there that can threaten a woman’s happiness, such as, “out of chocolate” or “running late”. But this one is particularly nasty and quite common, especially among women. It’s a sneaky word. A simple word. A common word. A vicious word disguised as your everyday average joe kind of a word. But that simple word has managed to destroy my happiness over and over again.
Here are some examples from the playlist of complaints going on in my head:
- “I should be able to shower without the baby crying!”
- “My kids should know how to close the door behind them when they go outside!”
- “I have a million things to do. I don’t even know where I should start.”
- “My kids should be able to play 5 minutes without fighting!”
Yes, the ugly word that will suck the happiness out of any woman is SHOULD.
What is it about the word should that gives it such a power to be so destructive to a woman’s happiness?
Should is a word that creates an expectation. It creates PRESSURE. Should implies that there is a standard that needs to be lived up to, and it is your job to make sure it is. Then if you, your kids, or life, in general, has not met that standard then watch out because here come the floods of guilt, anger, frustration, and feelings of failure.
Are you skeptical? Maybe you’re thinking, there is no way the solution to all my frustrations boils down to using the word should. Aaaaand you’re probably right. But, next time you’re feeling a little frustrated, see if you can describe how you’re feeling by using some sort of a should statement. Is the situation not living up to your expectation of how it “should” be? Do you feel pressure to participate in an activity because you “should”?
Woman’s Happiness Restored: How to Defeat the Power of “Should”
Now that you can see the situation in the light of a should statement, ask yourself, “Says who?”
Where is this duty or obligation coming from? Is it real? Is it imagined?
So many times our anger and frustrations are just attached to expectations that are more self-inflicted than anything else. And trying to live up to unrealistic expectations sets a woman up for feelings of inadequacy and failure.
- Who has time for that?! Give yourself a break!
- Who said your house needs to be in pristine condition at all times?
- Who said that children must behave perfectly at all times?
I promise you, the perfect-Pinterest-police are not going to show up at your door and put you in Instagram jail.
If the answer to, “Says who?” comes from a real, legitimate place like a family member, trusted friend, boss, or maybe even Deity, then I suggest pulling out your best soul-searching skills and make a realistic evaluation of where this “should” could fit into your life.
“Should is my all time least favorite word. It’s this sort of guilt inducing, finger wagging word that we use to beat up others and ourselves.”Frank Beddor
What do I recommend saying instead?
Now, I know you’re thinking, can’t the word should be a good motivator? I mean, I’d love it if you were giving me permission to set all my responsibilities aside a but can’t the word should be used positively? Ok, fair enough. In those situations, try replacing should with other words like “need” or “would like to”.
These words show much more realistically where items should fall on the priority list. For example, maybe “I should lose 10 pounds.” could turn into, “I think losing 10 pounds would help me feel healthier and happier. I’ll see if I can find some time to do a few extra workouts.”
See? That feels much better, doesn’t it?
Remember, nobody is perfect. Life is not always perfect.
Allow yourself to be you, allow your kids to be kids, allow your life to be what it is.
Allow contentment to preserve your happiness.Breanne
More on women’s happiness:
- The Guardian-What Makes Women Happy?
- Tiny Buddha-How Expectations Undermine Our Happiness and Relationships