When I was living in Granby, right after I had to leave CU in Boulder, I saw a therapist every week named Dr. Whitefeather. She had a doctorate in organizational psychology. She was an amazing person. She was special. She rode motorcycles, worked in the phone company, had tattoos, worked at a phone bank, native american, etc. She was just a very varied person, perfect for me.
One of the things we talked about early on was the “should’ve beens”. For instance, I “should’ve” gone to college, but I didn’t. I could focus on the should’ve, and in essence make a negative valuable: something that wasn’t valuable. My making this negative, this void of value more important than what actually happened I negatively impacted my general mental health. As long as I perceived myself unable to do the things I “should” be able to do (as “should” implies) I was going to place a void in my values where something could exist instead.
So, “I should be a better son.” or “I should always do the right thing.” or “My mother should take care of me.” That’s only focusing on what, by implication, can’t be. But what if we looked at this differently and said, “I will be a better son.”, “I will always do the right thing.”, “I will love my mother as much as I want, but I will take care of myself.”
If you think more in terms of what is, and “I will”s, you put a positive back in your life as opposed to a negative. “Will” conveys that it is something you are able to do. I will be a better son, means that you can be a better son. I will always do the right thing, means that you can do the right thing.
I thought of this today because I slept in because I had heartburn from my medications. This offset my work schedule for the day, on top of that I had a vet appointment AND a conference call. I shouldn’t have slept in. In fact, I shouldn’t sleep in every day of my life (it’s a chronic problem). But, instead of saying, “I should not sleep in.” I can say, “I can stay awake. I will not sleep in.” Now I have a direction, now I have a directive, now I have a pool of confidence and strength I can tap into. Will I always succeed? Probably not, but I can do my best and every day I can say to myself, “I will not sleep in.”
I think that’s better than the alternative don’t you think?