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“Should” and “Must” Get in the Way

February 4, 2013 , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

By Junice Rockman of Murfreesboro

How many times have you questioned yourself about the way you completed a task, the timing in which you reached a goal or the manner you responded to a situation?

Many of us expend a great deal of thought and energy analyzing our thoughts, decisions and choices in this way. While it is both necessary and important to make small adjustments in our lives along the way, it can be downright exhausting when we find ourselves micromanaging every aspect of our lives in this way.


We each arrived on the planet with an “internal GPS” or “God’s Positioning System” that helps direct our choices and shape our destiny. Some of us call the GPS our conscience, our “gut,” following our heart or our instincts. We all have it, we just have to learn how to hear it and trust what we hear. The more we allow ourselves to trust ourselves, the better we get at it. Learning to follow your heart is like working a muscle. The more you use it, the stronger you get. On the other hand, if you don’t use it, you may eventually lose it.

Our ‘must’

When we continually evaluate our lives based on a standard of what we could or should have done differently, it hinders us from experiencing abundant happiness because we are constantly second guessing ourselves. In our society we seem to be on a continual quest to fix ourselves instead of learning to love and be ourselves.

We create a set of “must” or things that must happen in our lives in order to be happy and fulfilled. While standards are essential to having a quality life, having unrealistic “musts” in our lives is counter productive. Instead we need to set a standard of “musts” that are inspiring, realistic and attainable in our lives.

As we continually evolve and make changes, we can still love ourselves and our lives in the process. As we relinquish the need for perfection we move away from striving to be perfect and instead strive to become the best version of ourselves.

‘Tyranny of shoulds’

Karen Horney, an ego psychologist, created the theory of the “Tyranny of the Shoulds.” The theory basically expresses the idea that people are often so negative toward themselves because they feel that they “should” have met a certain set of goals in their life. Her goal was to get people past the tyranny, accept themselves and define healthy ways to make changes and evolve over time.

Contact Junice Rockman of Murfreesboro



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