Episode 46: Shoulds
The sun is always shining, even if it's cloudy. Good morning. Let's raise our mimosas or mugs and clink a cheers to a bit of connection between work, notices and ads in your inbox. Written with a London accent in my head. Reading with an accent is completely your (next best) decision.
Okay, raise your hand if you know what it means when I say, "We have shoulds for people."
Shoulds, like, "He should..."
Or more specifically, "They should not..."
People should not throw their trash out of the car window.
But they do.
Parents should not beat their kids.
But they do.
Corporations should not be considered as people.
But they are.
Amazon should pay taxes.
But they don't.
Political parties should not carry angry pitchforks.
But they do.
We have Shoulds for everyone and everything.
What I noticed this week was a shift in my perception of what it feels like to have a should, coming from a space of confidence instead of a space of lack.
Do I need to break down this sentence?
In the past, I did not hold respectful space for myself in relation to others and the world. Maybe this is a surprise to you, but it is accurate.
In appearance, "All is calm, All is bright..." Or maybe I was fooling no one.
Inside has felt low-level unsafe for the majority of my life. But I was used to it, so it was normal.
Recently, in my practice of feeling confident, by using more helpful thoughts--
i.e., we FEEL because of how we THINK of things--
having a Should feels very different from a space of confidence than from a space of lack.
What is lack?
Lack would be: thoughts of not enough. All the women in the room know what I'm talking about, and potentially introspective men, and anyone whose not white, and non-binary, and LGBTQ+.
All the people. The majority of humanity.
Wait, deep breath, that may not be true.
Is it possible, let me entertain this in real time...while typing...
Is it possible that all humans feel lack, feel not good enough, at some point--even the white males who have basically been at the top of the food chain of humanity since, well, a very long time?
(Here is my judgement for you to see. Please know that I am working on it.
I am being honest about my faults. This blame comes from pain of the my own past.
I am working on letting it go and forgiving mankind.)
It's not true. Of course, men feel. I apologize.
Most anthropologists argue there never was a true matriarchal society, while others believe there have been six.
Possibility: Historically in matriarchal societies, women didn't push men down in order to run things efficiently. Men would not have been "less" or come from a place of lack. There were no male witch trials, at least not documented.
Truth: The last few generations of children in America have been raised primarily by women. There has been an increase in single/divorced mothers with primary custody. Children are raised by women in day care, pre-school, grade school. Children don't, on average, experience male teachers until 9th grade.
Yet it is common practice to blame fathers and men.
It has been my practice.
In order for women to climb, or to be free, we have attempted to squash men to do it, giving rise to a Men's Rights Movement.
But I digress.
Do you understand what I am saying about coming from a space of lack?
We resist reality with 'shoulds' and judging.
This week, it felt very different to resist reality from a space of confidence than from a space of lack.
I had thoughts of, "I am awesome!" or "I love myself right now."
And, of course, I had a should. Because we will always have shoulds. That's what the brain does.
The should felt more powerful.
I felt elevated, with joy. I was not coming from a place of self-loathing.
And judging someone from a higher space felt more powerful and...
a different kind of uncomfortable.
I first thought that I was having trouble being kind to others while being kind to Me.
Like I was broken.
I don't think that was true.
It just feels different. This new territory of believing in Me, and loving myself, and caring for myself before others.
Maybe THAT is what is so new.
Last week, my adult kids were not here in my house. It was Me and the two dogs.
Caring for Me is much easier, front-line behavior when there is not another to care for FIRST.
I brushed my teeth before I walked the dogs. I couldn't always do that with babies.
I made food that was uniquely what my body and organs were shouting for.
My daily tasks centered around what needed to be done in my own world.
This is kind of new.
I'm not complaining. It's fantastic!
I can see though, the Uncomfortable Empty Nester. Parents who find a lonely space where action used to be.
After Doing For Others for so many years, what is left?
I think it is a beautiful time.
It doesn't mean I am pushing other parents down, or feel that they are less-than.
Caregivers who sacrifice sleep and intelligent conversation and FUN to make sure someone else's needs are met are special kinds of wonderful.
The best of humanity.
(Unless they have a lot of shoulds.) LOL.
Today's Deep Breath: here's a practical juju nugget, a collective Next Best Decision.
Here's what is possible.
Six communities on this planet at one time figured out a way for women to lead, without squashing their men, and developed societies that functioned and thrived. Yes, they didn't last.
We can do better!
Truth: The air we breathe, the water we swim in as a culture, and as sub-cultures, has been dominated by one group while holding other groups down.
We oppress some so we think we can thrive.
What if we are wrong?
This approach is probably optional.
What if there are other ways?
What if we could peacefully, without ire, zoom the lens out...
I want to bring up religion, as an example, without any angst.
Do not be afraid.
Some religions started with a prophet or a God emerging in a time of societal strife.
Though this person is usually male, they are usually part of the oppressed and show others another way of seeing and being.
The core of what all of them preached was beautiful and tethered to a future of equality, love and peace, right?
But then what happened?
Other leaders espoused these beliefs--and were very choosy to maximize benefit to themselves and those in power.
This happened because of the competitive culture and nature of personalities in power.
We cannot expect vast, sweeping change tomorrow.
Obviously. We all agree on that.
I'm not expecting "pie in the sky," a term used to stop progress in decades past, and being used again these last few years.
But we COULD, absolutely, reach way out there, to a future that doesn't oppress anyone.
Oh, that's the dream.
I know, some of us really cannot see beyond daily details.
The "news" relies on that.
Stay with me.
Look way out into the landscape of the future.
It can be flat or hilly...but look way out there.
I'm asking all of us to take a stake and strike into the ground way out there.
Then attach a rope to the stake and return to today. To where you stand right now.
Stay tethered, every day, every moment, to the stake you want and walk toward it.
Not distracted by marketing and algorithms! So important.
Not distracted by someone else's intentional Should.
There are people, and companies, who like oppressions the way they are.
You have to know that is true.
I do NOT say this in anger.
It's more like a pleading.
For those who would like it to stay as it is, we all have to ask WHY.
For those who are on top today, do you feel competition?
Perhaps this is human nature?
One might fear falling off of their imaginary platform.
We can even have compassion for them in their fear. We can relate to fear.
But the platform may be an illusion, built on a thought created by fear.
Entertain for a second that there is no platform or competition.
It's just the way we think.
And are made to think.
We don't trust this process of walking toward a better future, because We don't see it.
You might be tempted to split into the two teams created for us, to go back to opposite corners prepared to fight.
In a whisper, there is no fight necessary.
Jump out of the ring. Walk out of the arena.
Turn off the news, but get your factual updates. I don't suggest living in the bubble without participating in the Rise.
Participate in the Rise.
Choose a future that you can believe in, tether to it, and walk toward it every day.
There's no need for violence or hatred or resentment.
We can forgive. And learn from what has happened. We can be prepared, have a plan and know that we can handle whatever happens.
Yes, there are decisions to make every week.
People will do things.
They all have their own aspirations.
And that's okay.
Really think about what your aspirations are. Way out there.
Be steady in your own life.
That is your power.
If there is a cloud between you and another, it is because of a thought you are having.
Let it go, for your own peace.