“I get angry and pull away.”
“Go talk to Doug,” said one of the other coaches.
At this point, I was standing in front of a businessman, in his 30’s, who was filled with guilt and shame. You could see it on his face. He had a hard time telling me what was going on.
“You see Doug, I’m so embarrassed saying this because my wife is the most amazing woman in the world. I love her so much… but… when we don’t have sex for several days, I find myself getting angry and pulling away from her. She doesn’t deserve that. What’s wrong with me?”
This man commanded a very successful business, had three small children, and here he stood before me ashamed for the way he was feeling.
What he didn’t know was that this was very common. After working with thousands of people over the years, I’d even call this the norm, though the number of days can be different for each person.
“Let me guess – you haven’t been interment with your wife for several days, and with each day you feel that you’re less and less connected. You walk around your house feeling more like roommates than lovers. Small problems start to seem large and cause arguments or at least more distance. You still love each other, but there’s a void coming between you. Is that right?”
His face lit up, and he replied loudly “YES! Am I wrong? I feel terrible. I shouldn’t feel this way.”
I smiled. I smiled because it was awesome to see how much love he had for his wife. I smiled because he was about to get some freedom from his guilt by finding out that what he was feeling was merely the usual order of things…
…I smiled because we all do this in different ways in all areas of our lives.
When a feeling inside of us bubbles up to the surface, or just below the surface, and we feel shame around that feeling, we start to create a story. A false narrative usually. A story with a lot of “shoulds” and “should nots” in it.
That story grows bigger and bigger until it weighs us down like a warm wet wool blanket [as one of my client’s accurately described it].
When the word “should” comes up in your languaging, it’s a good time to realize that you’re judging. You’re either judging yourself, or someone else, and thus making them wrong.
“I should make more money.”
“I shouldn’t be this fat.”
“I should wake up at 4:30 AM to meditate.”
What you’re really saying in all the above is that you’re wrong and not good enough. This certainly won’t help you.
When we apply this level of judgment to ourselves, it seems to snowball and grow. More than that, it spills over to other areas of our lives.
It might start with the way we look, then roll over into not feeling good enough in business, then perhaps at home… or in bed.
This is an all too common occurrence and catching it early is the key.
Here are three things you can do today:
- Catch Yourself. Catch yourself when you use the word “should” and replace it with “get to,” “could,” or “possibly.” This small shift will have a large impact on you, and those around you, over time.
- Make a list of your “shoulds.” Where did they come from? Where did you get that belief?
- Take a look at your above list of “shoulds” and highlight those that serve you – that make you a better person by positively pulling you towards your dreams with flow and ease. Take the others and get rid of them. They’re just made up stories anyway, so you might as well delete them. If you don’t find that easy, let me know, and I’ll help you or point you in the direction of a coach that can.
You should smile now because you’re doing a fantastic job… or don’t smile. The choice is yours. 😎