Put the “Shoulds” On the Shelf

We all have things that we feel we “should” be doing: people we should see or call, places we should go, things to get checked off the list. I have always have a bad case of the “shoulds”. “I should be fitter, leaner, happier, smarter…” or “I should be working out; I should go for a run; I should be saving more money”. You might be able to relate. Lately I have been really trying to “shed the shoulds” (Thank you Jessica Tomlinson for this amazing saying).

I’ve been turning those “shoulds” into “should-nots” and saying “No” to my inner self, the self that keeps telling me that I should be able to do it all. No,  I actually cannot do it all and some things must be put on the shelf in order to maintain my health and mental well-being. I’ve surrendered to the fact that some days I am just too tired to work out and even when my mind tells me I should be training, I can kindly tell myself, “No”. I am in the midst of grieving my former body – the one that could do 20+ pull-ups and effortless bike sprints and 800m runs. My legs are losing their size and therefore cannot squat as much weight as they used to. I can still squat though, so I am grateful for that.

I’ve had to say no to events which I felt guilty about, I struggled to keep the shoulds from creeping in. I remind myself that it’s okay to say no. By saying no I am actually empowering myself to not always have to say yes, to not feel guilty if I say no, or feel like I should be saying yes. This process, and the ability to say no, are always a work in progress. It takes practice and confidence-building to do this.

When I first began writing this blog I wrote about how every person’s balance is different. Everyone has their own way of handling and viewing life. It takes a long time to find what balance is right. I feel like I am starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel that is the beginning of me finding my balance.


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