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’m wrapping myself in shoulds whereas, for so long, I’d existed wholly unwrapped.
- I lived my life.
- I did the best I could.
- I had zero absolutes or rules by which I had to (must!) live.
I acknowledged you 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 projecting shoulds and oughts on you, I didn’t expect anything!
I’m back to musturbating. I’m shoulding all over you.
Before I devolve into an overshare here’s a quick primer on MUSTurbation:
Albert Ellis believed we humans possess 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 (again, 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’ve learned how to handle that and emerge smiling out the other side.
The *I* bullet point? The *You* notion? Both of those for me are should, ought and must-city these days.
I’m aware “shoulds” and “musts” are a sign I’m pushing myself to do things I’m not entirely sure I want to do.
I’m aware if I was all in! I’d not require rules or guidelines to get myself started.
This return to MUSTurbating is causing me stress and it’s time to stop.
And, as with all things in my life, I assume if I’m struggling then you must be as well.
1. Swap should for a request or 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 give me last minute notice with deadlines because it disrupts everything.”
I’ll rephrase/choose to say: “I’d prefer you either let me know as soon as you receive the deadline or give me a general sense upon assignment.”
2. Shift should, ought, must into “I wish” or “I’d prefer.”
I’m not a fan of the phrase I wish. It’s 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 eye-opening for me is swapping out want or need when Id slipped back into saying should or must.
Some of the things which make me unhappy are obligations—but not all. There are a few, thanks to this word/mind shift, I can now consciously choose to release.
3. Stop predicting future.
I live fully (too fully?) in the present so the realization of this #3 surprised me.
Yet, after consideration, I can see it’s exactly 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 work for them.).
I’m attempting to control and predict the future.
I need to pause each time I begin to form that word and remind myself:
Even if things don’t currently look as I’d like them to it doesn’t mean they won’t improve.
I ought to do more cardio.
MUSTurbation hurts in healthy living (I must not each sugar for 30 days because I’m doing a challenge!).
MUSTurbation is a harmful mindset for parenting (my child should know to come home and immediately do her homework.).
MUSTurbation is detrimental to relationships (my partner ought to know my love language is cucumbers.).
I’m done MUSTurbating and shoulding all over myself.
For real and final this time.
- Are you a MUSTurbator? Have you accidentally created a life defined by rules?
- How might you shed your shoulds, musts and oughts?