The anti-should list
By Thais Guimaraes
Lately I feel inundated with article after article on things we SHOULD do. Top Five Reasons To Meditate. Top Ten Things We Need to Learn. Top Hundred To Do’s Before You Die.
I know all these articles mean well; I know they do. These authors are able to articulate things they have learned and want to spread the message. They hope to inspire others to do what they do (or at least try to do) in order to Be Happy and Have It All. Hey if something worked for you, and you have the skills to write about it, why wouldn’t you share?
My inferiority complex gets a kick out of thinking that I am the only person in the world who doesn’t have it all figured out. But let’s be real, most of these authors are Joe Schmoes just like the rest of us—struggling every day to find some peace in the craziness of it all. We tend to forget that, don’t we? We forget that these authors are regular people too who probably don’t follow their own advice. We see these articles and think there must be something wrong with us because, despite reading all the self-help books/articles/blog posts/radio shows/TV shows/movies/etc on all the ways we should improve our lives, our lives are still shitty, filled with obligations and things we don’t want to do with difficult people.
I am tired of living under a pressing time bomb I call Self-Help Overload.
I want to put an end to this madness by stating that SHOULD statements are warning signs. Every time you think you should be a certain way, you are essentially saying you are not good enough at this moment. And that is an idea our society will go to any means to cultivate. If you are not good enough, you are more likely to buy those out-of-your-budget lululemon pants to make yourself look like a better yogi. If you are not good enough, you will spend hours in front of the mirror trying to hide all the wrinkles and lines that show you’ve lived a crazy life just like the rest of them. The cosmetic, food, and clothes industries thrive on your lack of confidence. In fact, most industries are alive because of the need for us to always look for ways to improve our bodies and ourselves.
This idea that we are fundamentally flawed and need to be perfected is nothing more than a smart marketing tactic. And it’s time we came together and stopped feeling inadequate. You are perfect, whole and complete just the way you are. We are all born perfect. It is by realizing this truth that the defenses around our hearts disappear and we will begin to act more perfectly.
So this is a plea. A plea against the shoulds. You will see that once you love yourself for who you are, love around you will flourish. People will respond positively. You will naturally want to feed yourself better foods and endeavor in some sort of spiritual practice. The more you accept who you are, the less you will fear life, and you will judge others less. And it all starts by not listening to Them. You do not need to better yourself; you have everything you need right now to be the most amazing human being possible.
About Thais Guimaraes
Thais is a 20-something, wandering but not lost, chocoholic yogini with a passion for all things inspiring. You can catch her taking naps in the park with her black lab, Caviar, reading ten books at a time, or tweeting away about some quote or another. Check out her corner of the blogging world here.