We all have a voice inside of our heads which tries to tell us what to do, how to act, and who to be. Sometimes this voice is productive, such as when it moves us out of inertia and into action. The voice can also help us to do the right thing, even when the right thing is not the easiest or fastest thing to do. That is the positive side of the voice…
The Dark Side of Our Inner Voice
However, the voice can also be counterproductive or even destructive. It can be so ubiquitous in its presence that we are unable to experience even a moment of peace. It can relentlessly order us to be productive in each and every moment, to always put the needs and wants of others above our own needs, and to prove our worthiness through action many times each day. The dark side of the voice is where “should” often resides. Have you ever heard the expression, to “should” on yourself? The mental imagery evoked is apropos in that this application of should is akin to showering ourselves with garbage (or worse…).
This post discusses the concept of “should,” as well as my insights from completing the “I Should” exercise from “You Can Heal Your Life.”
It is my intention to complete at least one exercise from Louise Hay each week and to share my experience and what I learn in this blog. These posts may be combined with the weekly lesson, or they may stand on their own.
Louise Hay presents an exercise in “You Can Heal Your Life” which is focused on examining our internal “shoulds” and how we can create a more empowering inner dialogue. The exercise begins with writing or typing “I Should…” and completing the sentence in as many ways as come to mind. Here are a few of my “shoulds”:
1. I should be more productive.
2. I should make more money.
3. I should get a real job.
4. I should get up earlier.
5. I should dress nicely more often.
Why Should I?
The next step of the exercise involves reading each “should” aloud and then asking, “Why?” The responses to this question reveal where a person is stuck in his or her beliefs and self-imposed limitations.
Sometimes a headache isn’t just a headache… This is something I’ve pondered in recent months as I’ve considered how often I suffer from migraines. Could it be possible that my headaches serve a purpose beyond causing me extreme pain and discomfort? My thoughts and realizations on this subject will be the focus of today’s post.
Inconvenient Migraines & Other Such Ailments
Last summer and fall, I attended classes three nights per week. Every two or three weeks, we would have a project to complete and hand in for course credit. We would usually be given one class period to use as a “work night” for our projects. After a few months of class, I noticed that I would almost invariably have a migraine on all project nights. Was this just a mere coincidence, or was something else behind it?
As I considered my project night migraines, I noticed that I would also get migraines on days or nights on which I had certain other commitments, such as a Toastmasters speech or a social function to attend. It is highly unlikely that my migraines on all of these days happened by chance, so perhaps there were other forces at play…
I am a long-time fan of the reality show, “The Biggest Loser.” I’ve watched all but one of its nine seasons and I frequently find myself in tears as I watch this truly inspiring show. Last night, as I watched the penultimate episode of the ninth season, I was moved to write about my appreciation for this show I’ve come to love.
The four remaining contestants all went home for a month, where they trained to run a marathon while continuing to focus on losing weight to vie for the title of “The Biggest Loser” (and the accompanying quarter million dollar prize). Two of the contestants were still close to a hundred pounds overweight when they left the Biggest Loser Ranch. Yet, they all returned and finished the marathon! The final two marathon finishers ran across the finish line hand in hand, and I bawled like a baby while watching this touching moment.
If someone were to ask you if you love yourself, how many of you would reply with an enthusiastic “Yes”? How about if you were asked if you love your body? I know that for most of my life, I would have found both questions absurd. I definitely and unequivocally did not love myself or my body.
For years, I was my own worst critic. I would unleash a torrent of criticism upon myself on a daily basis that I wouldn’t wish upon my worst enemy. In fact, I was my own worst enemy. Nothing I could do was ever good enough for me; my standards were impossibly high and there was no way I could reach them. While my targets for accomplishment and success were virtually unachievable, my standards for my body and physical appearance surpassed them by leaps and bounds.