I made a list of personal "should" voices

You should know exactly what to do in a given social situation.

You should constantly be taking better, more original, more interesting photos.

You should be desired, and hopefully even chased after.

You should be really good at everything you do, and you should do everything that is "good." (Perfectly rounded, master-of-all-trades.)

You should be too strong and smart to be affected by manipulation or unfair treatment.

You should maintain an "aesthetically pleasing" figure and a "fit"-seeming weight, but without dieting or relapsing.

You should never offend or shock your parents, or do anything to earn their disappointment — but you should also never compromise yourself. 

You should always be able to will or reason yourself out of being afraid.

Your hair should always look just right.

You should be liked by every "worthwhile" person.

You should be a dazzling host.

You should have just the right, albeit minimalist, wardrobe.

You should not take "too long" to process or get over tough stuff.

You should not be "too" affected by anything.

You should always be consistent and/or self-aware.

You should be able to live anywhere and thrive in every way.


...


They're kind of outrageous, once I actually notice them. Try it.

9 comments:

Noël De Vries 4/05/2012 5:27 AM  

this list reminds me of someone...

oh.

nancy drew


(remember criss cross in the library? :)

sui 4/05/2012 10:15 AM  

"aesthetically pleasing"... I HEAR YA. UGH. I realize that *I* don't even like the body type that I think (oops, did I just admit that in the present tense?) I would look best as, on other people, necessarily... then again I don't (thankfully) look at other people's bodies and want to be them anymore. actually, you know what I want? I just want to be my own unique body. which I am. woo-hoo!

"You should always be able to will or reason yourself out of being afraid.
You should not take "too long" to process or get over tough stuff.
You should not be "too" affected by anything.
You should always be consistent and/or self-aware.
You should be able to live anywhere and thrive in every way."

ooh... exactly.

how about...

you should be grateful you're living in nyc

you should be grateful you can sleep until noon when you go to sleep at 5am

you should be happy already, here

you should just be satisfied with what you have already

I actually have a lot of: "you shouldn't"s...

you shouldn't be in so much turmoil

you shouldn't feel so weird and scared and crazy

you shouldn't

... ah.

Poppy 4/05/2012 5:10 PM  

I am doing this exact kind of thing at the moment! Two books (on kindle) I am finding very helpful: Self-Esteem (Matthew McKay & Patrick Fanning) and Undoing Depression (Richard O'Connor.)

Jenica 4/05/2012 9:05 PM  

Oh man. Now that you mention it, I hear so many of these. Especially being consistent and self-aware...Being desired and chased after...Too strong and smart to be affected or manipulated...

Holly 4/05/2012 9:37 PM  

Noël - YES of course I remember, and I totally see the resemblance. That one deserves a reread.

Sui - Mm. And it's like, yeah, thanks, self, cuz "shouldn'ts" totally make depression go away...

Poppy - Indeed?! I wrote mine as part of Sui's e-course. I shall have a gander at those, since you recommend them.

Jenica - And the thing is, even if they weren't realistic -- I just don't think they even help you get there! They're not constructive; they're preoccupying and they don't help us do what is actually important for us as individuals...

Stephy 4/08/2012 1:26 PM  

Thanks for this post, Holla. Outrageous, yes, but such a natural part of my [our] rationale, so not so obviously outrageous. Still struggling to even admit the outrageousness for some of these [and some of my own, but many are similar.]

Holly 4/09/2012 8:50 PM  

Steph - Yes, I believe "our" is correct. <3

Anonymous 4/16/2012 11:23 PM  

Holly, This post has stayed in my mind, many days later. It was such an eye-opening experience when I realized I spoke in "should's". Years later, I am much more able to rationally examine the pressures I place on myself and disregard many to be needless added stress. But through all of that I never wrote them down. When reading your list, I nodded a yes to every single one.
I am happy to see the absurdity of it now. It is a wonderful reminder of how far I've come. Thanks for providing me a new perspective.

Maria

Holly 5/07/2012 10:26 PM  

Maria - Thank YOU for being here, Maria.

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