Don’t Let “Shoulds” Keep you Small

We all have triggers . . . things that make us twinge when brought up in polite conversation, things that we passionately, wholeheartedly respond to with every fiber of our being, while it seems the rest of the world didn’t even hear a sentence worthy of a second thought. We all have these, some of us are likely not even aware of them and some of us are so completely aware that we are constantly in the state of soul searching to figure out why we are this way and if we need therapy.

I have triggers just like everyone else and one of them seems to be sending out some sort of cosmic vibe lately—I can almost hear it! “Pull me!!! Make Adele uncomfortable! DO IT!!!” and the universe seems to be complying. So, here I sit with children playing around me, a hot cup of coffee sitting beside me, and a whirling mess of triggered up thoughts and emotions in me.

I’m sure you are wondering what in the world has this woman all fired up. . .and the trigger for me is this society full of “should” and “supposed to” and labels and limiting expectations. . . I see it and hear it EVERYWHERE and it is soul crushing to me!

I’m not talking about the moral compass sort of things like don’t murder or steal or abuse. I’m talking about all the little comments and attitudes that maybe come from media, that maybe come from Facebook, that we learned from our parents, or that we find ourselves participating in socially. All the collective ideas in our culture that keep us small and box us in, that lead us to heart break or cruelty or self-doubt or insignificance, when really we were born to be MAGNIFICENT!

I am a jogger, I’m working to be a better swimmer, I love amusement park rides, I have ballroom danced competitively, I learned to mountain bike last year, I am learning to ski this winter, I love the beach in the summer, I body surf with my kids, AND according to all the charts I am extremely obese. I can only guess at what some of the looks I receive mean, but the words that are spoken to me are all over the place dripping with ideas of a culture that “KNOWS” so much, but perceives so little. I have had a nurse “know” that her equipment to take my blood pressure must be broken, rather than take my word for it that I have always had low blood pressure. As I stopped to stretch my legs during a run, I have had a woman stop and make sure I know that I “can’t expect to take the weight off too fast.” I have heard a child say “daddy I thought fat people couldn’t run” and the dad respond “that woman must be special.” There have been assumptions about what I must eat and how I likely take my coffee.

I have been told that I am courageous and brave for putting myself out there “considering everything” as their eyes scan up and down my body.

AND I am courageous and brave—but not because I am fat. I am courageous and brave because at 35 years old I still want to try new things and step out of my comfort zone. Have you ever ridden on the magic carpet as you go up the bunny hill? That requires bravery!! I am courageous and brave because I bring my authentic self even when I know not everyone will like me for it.

But this post is not just about my athleticism and my weight and my bravery. . . it is about all those ideas that try to keep us small. This is for all the people who are so worried about being the perfect wife, husband, boyfriend, girlfriend, mother, father, friend, artist, engineer, teacher, whatever, that they don’t realize that what makes them perfect in this world is being themselves.

Everywhere we look the world is telling us our “should” and “supposed to”. . . .Movies tell us what love should look like, Pintrest tells us what a home should look like and what a perfect mom makes for party favors, Facebook tells us how we compare, scales tell us our health, our salary’s tell us our worth, it is never ending!!

So, I am here today to tell you that you are the embodiment of potential. You are the perfect person to be a partner, a parent, a professional. . . not because you fit a mold, but because you are your own mold. The world doesn’t need more people trying to fit the should or supposed to rolls, the world needs more of each of us bringing our real selves- the best of us, the bravest, the scared, the messy, the authentic. When we show up untethered by limiting ideas, willing to be big, we create a new paradigm of possible. Imagine a world where we stop focusing on what we should be and start focusing on what we can be.

#Brave #Authentic #potential