Hmmm, this is a tough topic for me. Painful in many ways. It’s the one destructive life pattern I have yet to break. Letting fear, *tyranny of the shoulds, and disconnection from spirit override my wants, dreams, and desires. At times this has left me heart sick and over all, not in very emotionally healthy spaces.
As early as I can remember, I was taught to be ‘nice’. I was taught that children should be seen but not heard. I was told I was being ‘dramatic’ and to ‘stop being upset’. I was parented by impendence and told that I ‘should do this’ and I ‘shouldn’t do that’. I don’t remember receiving many affirming messages while growing up. I am not claiming that I did not receive love, nor am I claiming that all of these messages came directly from my parents. I am only stating that the messages I can viscerally recall have been internalized and these early messages were my first set of directions in life. They shaped my early adult roadmap and I have spent my 30’s rebuilding and editing that roadmap and associated false beliefs.
Much of my late teens and early 20’s were spent in unfulfilling relationships, both romantic and social for lack of self-confidence and not knowing how to tell someone I wanted something different. Essentially, for FEAR of hurting them; confusing pity for love. Having friends who wanted me to be like them and who ostracized me for studying or doing something without them. It was sad and hurtful to realize they were not really my friends, or at least not the kind of friends I wanted. I got used to being alone. I got used to doing my own thing and longed to find others who were ‘like’ me. Even as a grown woman, I still have these feelings at times. Feelings of being different, other.
The one gift is that my husband understands this feeling I have and we are what I like to call Soul Twins. Meant to find on another, literally crossing paths over and over for years before actually meeting. It is no mistake we are together. In fact, he is the only ‘knowing’ I have followed through on and almost screwed it up many times before understanding my own patterns and sabatage of the shoulds.
Struggling through change in adulthood, I have fallen into the trap of ‘never knowing what I want’ and in those rare and exceptional times when I do ‘know’ with an aching my heart, I become afraid and think up all the ‘shoulds’ necessary to prevent me from following my heart. I put off the want until ‘later’. I become moody, cranky, unhappy. I believe this had led to directionless living. Drifting. Complacence. Settling. Searching without meaning.
I would like to flip this.
I would like the next decade of my life to be focused on knowing what I WANT and going for it with intention, despite fear. Hurting my core-self, ignoring my heart, and failing to grow metaphysically is painful. Perhaps more painful than being complacent and ‘safe’. I am not sure what my plan is yet, but I can no longer ignore this life pattern. Admitting it is the first step.
Mrs. Mother Dirt
*Horney referred to this phenomenon as the “tyranny of the shoulds” and the neurotic’s hopeless “search for glory”. She concluded that these ingrained traits of the psyche forever prevent an individual’s potential from being actualized unless the cycle of neurosis is somehow broken, through treatment or, in less severe cases, life lessons.