Pressure of “Shoulds”

Today I have felt under pressure. Writing these posts have been extremely helpful for me to centre my thoughts and to come to terms with where I am at but this has led me to feel huge pressure to keep up the momentum. Today I have no momentum.

Well I suppose that isn’t strictly true I have started two or three posts but was struggling to find a way to get them anywhere. I suppose I have the momentum but not the drive. As a completer-finisher this has been frustrating for me as I long to complete any post that I started. I have been putting myself under pressure to produce something bigger and better than the other posts and that was never meant to be the point.

Today my Lenten blog has been about reflecting on letting go of “shoulds” and that has been beneficial to me today. The word should is all about obligation and a sense of duty and this is how I felt today. I felt like I had an obligation to anyone who reads this but especially to myself to be better but I can only be who I am.

The world puts a lot of pressure on us to achieve things. As small children we are taught that we should try our best but are then put through rigorous testing with specific aims of where we “should” be at. It is not surprising then that we become conscious of this where we “should” be at. This is compounded by the universal life goals; for example at 18 I “should” be going to university or at a certain stage in my life I “should” be receiving that promotion. The level of pressure we put on our selves means when those life goals are not attainable it can lead to much frustration and stress.

I am lucky because my “shoulds”  are my own self pressures. There are many out there who have more simple “shoulds”. Like the student who “should” be able to get out of bed but is suffering from chronic fatigue or the mother who “should” be able to put food on the table for her children but has no money to buy the food. We all have pressures in this world and it is important to remind ourselves of the ones that are inconsequential.

For the burdensome “shoulds” that are unimportant let’s release them this day. Be all that you can be and be proud of what you have achieved for you are perfectly imperfect.

There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love (1 John 4:18).

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