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Do you feel like your life is on autopilot and you’re sitting on the passenger seat?

Sep 10, 2023

Wild guess: “Should” is your autopilot.

should dress appropriately. You should be a stay at home mom. You should stay in your well-paying job and not risk everything for self-employment. You should say yes when you’re asked to bake three cakes for the staff event. You should be realistic and not chase your dreams. You should go to your friend's birthday party.

I could go on and on and on and you could probably add countless should-examples as well.

We are surrounded by “shoulds”, in our childhood, at school, in education, at work, with friends and family. Should is everywhere and it so happens that at some point we stop recognizing it as a should - something that is told to us from the outside, ignoring what’s going on on the inside - and start adopting it as rigid belief systems that can affect us for years or even a lifetime.

All the things that you think you “should” do make it seem like you don’t have an option, but in reality, you DO have a choice.

Now here’s a fun exercise. Or at least I hope that it will be fun because the topic itself is challenging enough, isn’t it…

  • Step #1: Gather all the “shoulds” in your life
    • Take your special journal or notebook and write out all the shoulds that come to mind. Especially think about things you’ve recently done because you “should” like “I should quit coffee!”.
  • Step #2: Put your “shoulds” into themed groups.. 
    • All the “shoulds” which include doing others a favor like babysitting the four kids of your neighbor, baking cakes for events, looking after the plants of your friend during his holiday get grouped together. 
    • All the “shoulds” of how you should behave like: Be quiet, be a leader, be nice, be offensive…
    • Another group can gather the “shoulds” of looking good, put together, slim, well dressed.
    • The “shoulds” of societal expectation: You should get married and buy a house and a dog and have children…
    • Or any other group that makes sense to you!

You know your “shoulds” best. The loud and the quiet ones. Group them as it makes sense to you.

  • Step #3: Discard those that - now that you see them written on paper - seem just so stupid!! You don’t feel a strong connection to them and the simple decision to ditch them is enough. Just be aware of them if these “shoulds'' knock on your door again. You just don’t let them in. 
  • Step #4: Those left will be tenacious. Go through each and everyone of them and answer one of the two questions below:
    • Why do I want to stop dancing to the tune of this “should”? 
    • Why do I want to keep obeying this 'should,' not because I 'should' but because I truly want to?
      • HOW do I want to deal with it then? 
      • What approach to this should feel really true to myself? 

Step #4 is the most important one, because not all “shoulds” are inherently “bad.” The only time they become a problem is when you’re not aware of them, and you’re letting them be your autopilot. But now you are aware of the particular “should” you are looking at. You get to make decisions based on what you really want and not what you should do with or because of this “should” and that feels really empowering. You are putting yourself back on the driver's seat. YOU decide. YOU choose.

The next time a “should” appears in a situation you can pause, take a deep breath and remember your decisions you’ve made on paper when you thought this through. Then you “design your answer” accordingly. You want to say “no!” to this should: You say no. (No is a complete answer, you know that, right? : )) You want to say “YES!”? Say yes.

This might need some practice but every time you react to a “should” the way YOU want to, you’ll gain power and feel that you are in charge. No autopilot anymore. YOU decide.

Strengthening the bond with your inner voice, so that you can decide from within, is precisely what we focus on in the Joy Academy. When you can have that inner dialogue in situations where you’re confronted with a “should”, you get the freedom to decide what your answer is and that will create so much joy and lightness in your life every single day.

When “should” no longer is your autopilot, you can wear whatever you want, whether or not it’s “appropriate.” You can be a stay at home mom. You can choose to stay in your well-paying job or you can choose to take a bit of a risk and dive into self-employment. You absolutely don’t want to bake those three cakes for the staff event and you don’t have to. You are allowed to dream bigger than you previously thought possible. You can RSVP “no” to events you don’t want to attend, and prioritize events you do want to attend.

Do you see the big shift in what’s suddenly possible when “should” isn’t in charge anymore?

Inside the Joy Academy, you are guided to find what’s “missing” from your already pretty good life so that you can experience more joy and lightness every single day. One small but mighty part of that is that you’ll stop saying 'yes' out of habit to let your 'no' mean no and your 'yes' mean yes so you can step out of people pleasing and into integrity with who you truly are and want to be.

Are you ready to consciously choose your reaction towards all the “shoulds” in your life so that you do more of what feels true to you and makes you happy, free from social expectations? Join Joy Academy here.

Let’s make this world more playful, colorful and JOYful.

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