The shoulds kicked my butt this week. I was feeling sorry for myself and I even threw myself a pity party. It was a rough week. I hate to admit it, but I had a very negative energy, which only escalated from bad to worse.
I’ve always considered myself an optimist. I always felt I was a strong woman with a caring heart. In my past, I’d cry occasionally but it wasn’t a regular occurrence. Since I’ve been in the stepmom role, I’ve cried more than I have in my entire life. Now I’m not expecting you to feel sorry for me and throw me a pity party too, but I am being honest about the realities of this complex role.
Even though this role is complex, there are ways we make it worse for ourselves. Thinking of the shoulds only continues the cycle of negative thinking and negative energy. That was exactly what I was doing to myself this week.
I was having thoughts like:
- I shouldn’t have to deal with these things.
- I should be protected.
- They should respect my relationship.
- She should accept reality.
- He shouldn’t respond.
- They should see the truth.
- She shouldn’t pawn off her kids.
- They should be grateful.
- She should move on.
- They shouldn’t assume.
- I should feel peace.
- I should be appreciated.
As I said, it was a shouldy week.
These shoulds are dangerous because they prevent us from accepting reality and they keep us in a cycle of negative energy.
After my shouldy week, I decided to shift my thinking using substitute statements:
- I will allow… or I will not allow… Shift from “she shouldn’t pawn off the kids” to “I will not allow her pawning off the kids to impact my plans.”
- I would like it if… Shift from “he shouldn’t respond to her abusive communication” to “I would like it if he didn’t respond to her abusive communication.”
- It would be easier if… Shift from “I should feel appreciated” to “it would be easier if I felt more appreciated.”
- I would prefer… Shift from “I should feel peace” to “I would prefer feeling peace.”
- It would be nice… or It would be helpful… Shift from “she should move on already” to “it would be nice if she moved on.”
The shoulds create a vicious cycle which isn’t helpful in your day to day thinking. Living with shouldy thinking creates anger, anxiety, resentment and negative energy. Making a small shift in your thinking can positively impact your feelings and energy.
Shifting my thinking and energy forced me to end the pity party and get over this shouldy week.
Nicole DiLorenzo is an educator, mentor, wife, and stepmom of two girls. Her passion of teaching has spilled into the stepfamily dynamic, wanting to help others navigate their role. She runs a blog which helps her therapeutically deal with the many blessings and challenges within the stepfamily dynamic. She enjoys yoga, dog walks, riding motorcycles, vacations, and living a balanced life. Visit www.stepmomwarrior.wordpress.com for more information.