After Should

Welcome back! If youve been following along, in 2018 you read about how I lived a life of shouldI should be this, I should do that. I was miserable being what others wanted me to be and decided to come out of the closet of should. For 2019, Im going to talk about how I left a life of should and what lessons I learned to free myself. These learning lessons were earth-shattering ideas for me and changed my entire life. Hopefully, you arent stuck in a life of should, but whether you are or not, I bet you can learn something from these lessons. Buckle up and come along for the ride!

When I started the work on myself, I was doing it to benefit my business. I had just moved to Madison and was building my business; I didnt realize how stuck I was. I started reading tons of thought work books to be a better business person. What I didnt realize is how much of an impact this work would also make on my personal life.

The first book that changed the way I thought and made me look at my own actions in a different way was Loving What Is , by Byron Katie. This book describes the basic principle of staying in your business and that there are three circles: your business (what you have direct control of), other peoples business, and Gods or the Universes business. The concept of staying in your own business, or, as I like to think of it, staying in your lane, is that you can only control what you do and say, not how others will behave or react.

Whenever youre in one of the two circles worrying about what other people think, what they will do, or what will happen in the world, youre creating your own suffering. This may sound simple, but it isnt. Think about how many times in the last 24 hours you worried about what someone else did or thought. I know youre about to throw out a but, but there are no buts. You have to stay in your lane in order to prevent your own suffering.

Its easy to think we have more control than we actually do over other people and situationsthat we can make someone do something or change their opinion. But we cant. We can state our opinion and encourage someone to think more about an issue and look at another perspective, but we cant actually change their opinion. If we stay attached to the idea that we can change others minds, then when it doesnt happen, we become frustrated. Why wont they do what they should do? Staying in your lane means you let go of what will happen once youve done all you can. Its hard. It isnt that you dont care, but the acceptance of things you cant control and the uncertainty of a situation. Its letting yourself off the hook for things you never should have been on the hook for in the first place.

What will people think are the four words that destroy dreams. Many people have been prevented from doing things they want to do because of worrying about what others will think. The fear of judgement has controlled many people and caused them to behave and live their lives accordingly. I know, I did that.

As I started to comprehend this concept, I began to notice how often my mind was worrying about what other people were thinking about me. It was most of the time, and, consequently, I was rarely in my own business, creating my own suffering.

A couple of things happened once I started staying in my lane. I began to realize how often I apologized for things that werent my fault. I was constantly apologizing when someone else wasnt happy, believing that my job was to make others happythat I was somehow in control of their happiness. When you say those words out loud, you realize how ridiculous they are. But in my brain, it was a real thought. Conversely, I also realized that I was in control of my happiness, which was something I wanted to pursue. The concept takes practice. It was only when I stopped living my life based upon what others thought I should do, and stopped worrying what they would think of me, that I was able to start listening to what I wanted to do and be.

I wish I could install an alarm in my head like the one in my car that goes off every time I start to cross over the lines on the road. This is really challenging, and once you start catching yourself, you start to realize how our whole society encourages us to be in the business of others. It isnt easy, to be sure, but the relief you feel when you stay in your business is amazing. Youre freed up to focus on youyour desires, goals, and happiness. An added bonus is that your healthy behaviors will help others around you stay in their business. Not that youll care because you wont be attached to what they do. *wink

Photograph provided by Sandy Eichel

Sandy Eichel is a happy ex-should-er.