5 Ways to Shed The Shoulds and Set Yourself Free

It wasn’t so long ago that I lived my life in a world of “shoulds”–a world of feeling obligated instead of feeling free.

“I should respond to that email.”

“He’ll be mad if I don’t call him back.”

“I should probably accept that job.”

“I guess I should go to that party.”

A lot of my “shoulds” were a result of old beliefs I developed as a child stemming from fear, self doubt and feelings of unworthiness. I thought if I did everything right, nobody would get angry and I would be safe. As a result, I always did what I thought other people expected of me, and I felt responsible for their reactions and moods.

But now, on my spiritual path back to essence, I am choosing to lead my life from bravery and authenticity by doing what honors my true desires and feeds my soul—even if it doesn’t sit right with someone else. Here are some steps I’ve been taking to help guide me to the decisions that are for my highest good. Try them and see how they work for you!

Think “no” first. If you’re not 100% sure that you are following your truth, sit with it for awhile. I used to think I had to respond to someone immediately. Now I either say something like, “I’ll get back to you on that soon,” or I wait to respond at all.

Listen to your soul. “Shoulds” can be expectations that others have set for us, or unconscious expectations that we have set for ourselves. Sitting quietly and asking, “Is this right for me?” can allow us to hear the answers already within us.

Feel your body. Where does this feeling lie in your body? Does this idea feel like a contraction or an expansion? If I am about to do or say something I really don’t want to, I sometimes feel a tightening in my throat, for example. Our truth always feels open and light.

Does this bring you joy? Picture yourself in the situation and envision yourself taking the action. Do you feel joy? Connecting with your true spirit lifts you up, up, up!!

Ask yourself why?  Does it feel like you actually have a choice or does it feel like an obligation? If you are sacrificing yourself to please someone else, it is not the truth and it’s not serving anyone. Doing things for others from a place of honesty sends tingles up your spine, creates a feeling of connection and sends positive vibes out into the universe. An obligation feels heavy and daunting.

Today I can remember that the word “responsible” is really response-able, meaning that I am able to respond in a way that honors my truth and serves the highest good of all.