I MUST travel more with this one.
I have (to give a loving shout out to Albert Ellis) slipped back into the habit of rubbing myself the wrong way.
A woman renown for never MUST’ing herself I’ve slowly returned to a habit I kicked decades ago.
I’ve begun to wrap myself in shoulds & musts whereas for so long I’d been simply…unwrapped.
- I lived my life.
- I did the best I could.
- I was (and am) not a perfectionist. I had zero absolutes or rules by which I had to (must) live.
And I offered the same courtesy to you.
The royal you. The you in my online and offline life.
I recognized you, too, were doing the best you could and, if you behaved in a way I didn’t expect, that was fine.
Because, thanks to my lack of shoulds and oughts for you, I didn’t expect anything!
I’m back to musturbating and I’m shoulding all over you.
Before I devolve into an overshare here’s a quick primer on MUSTurbation:
Albert Ellis believed we humans have whacked out (my words) thinking when it comes to:
- How I am: e.g. I must always do the right thing and be treated a particular way or it’s catastrophic.
- How you are: e.g. You must be loving and thoughtful toward me or you suck (again my word).
- How the world is: e.g. Things must be they way I want them to be or my world is sucky (yes. shocker. my word.)
I SHOULD get back into yoga.
Now, thankfully the third bullet point isn’t a struggle for me. I grasp the world is a challenging place. I know how to handle that and emerge smiling out the other side.
That said, the I bullet point? The You notion? Those are both should, ought and must-city these days.
I give you my plan:
Three Ways to Stop MUSTurbating:
1. Swap should for a request or a preference. Instead of getting annoyed with someone and saying, “You should have introduced me to your friend. We both love movies!” I’ll make an effort to say, “I wish you’d introduced me to Ellen. We like lots of the same things.” Instead of the blanket: “You must not leave work late because it disrupts homework when you walk in.” I’ll rephrase it and actually utter: “I’d prefer you either take over homework or come home after it’s finished.”
2. Shift should, ought, must into an “I wish” or “I’d prefer.” I’m not a fan of the phrase I wish. This is just a personal preference but it strikes me as stating a want yet being unwilling to work for it (in the same vein as people use being “lucky”). What has been quite eye-opening for me is swapping out want or need when Id slipped back into saying should or must. In exactly the same manner choosing to say it’s not a priority right now changed my life swapping these words has been a clue to all the ways I spend my time which don’t bring me joy. Some of the things which make me unhappy are obligations—but not all. There are a few, with this word/mind shift, I can choose to release.
3. Stop predicting the future. I live so fully (too fully?) in the present the realization of this surprised me. Yet, after consideration, I think this is what I’m subconsciously attempting to do each time I use the word: ought. I’m forcing a sense of obligation upon myself (I ought to go to that networking event. I ought to see if I can write for them.). I’m attempting to both control and predict the future. I need to pause each time I begin to form that syllable and remind myself: even are not going well now or don’t look exactly like I’d like it does not mean things won’t improve.
Swapping demands for preferences is something I’m choosing to focus on in an effort to end my MUSTurbatory ways.
It hurts in healthy living (I must not each sugar for 30 days because I’m doing a challenge!).
It’s a harmful mindset for parenting (my child should know to come home, do her homework, and not bother me during the process).
It’s detrimental to relationships (my partner ought to know I my love language is perfume and flowers).
I’m finished MUSTurbating and shoulding all over myself…and over you, too.
I’ll let you know how it all works out.
- Are you a perpetual MUSTurbator? Have you created a life defined by rules?
- How might you shed your shoulds, musts and oughts?