Whilst The Oxford Compact English Dictionary will advise you that this is a “duty or obligation,” with which you may quite understandably agree, a therapist hearing these words might experience something of an “aha” moment…..
What nonsense you may say and on the surface, yes I agree with you. But human minds are far from superficial and these very words, “I really should,” can speak volumes of a potentially lost sense of self.
You see, the trouble is, that “should” doesn’t equate with personal choice necessarily and we therapists work away with our clients to empower the sense of self, the unique voice of an individual. And just incase this is starting to sound a little like psychobabble, let me illustrate what I mean by sharing some classwork set for primary school children aged 8. It was in our local school and the children were asked to write about grown-ups, like their parents, and what they say. Here’s a little example of “What They Say:”
Its time to get up
Come and have breakfast
Brush your teeth
Tidy this mess
Don’t be rude
Go to your room
The point I am trying to make is that with all this “telling” as we are growing up, is it surprising that we then become remarkably well-conditioned as adults, to feel we “should” ?! However, let me quickly run to the defence of parents, for I am far from intending to criticise. Afterall, who supports us in this challenging role when we find ourselves overwhelmed with all-consuming, desire-orientated little monsters, who will rarely do as we would please! Like others around us, before us and those who will follow, we generally rely on instinct, our own experiences and a good dose of distraction and fresh air! Congratulations is due to every person on this planet who has survived being a parent. And if you are reading this feeling a warm, smug glow of self-satisfaction…….then I hate to be the one to burst your bubble, but just think about it, you too have been one of the little monsters!! But all is not lost however…………….for you too deserve congratulations, for surviving this process too!
Its a viscious circle and what I really want to say is that from my perspective as a therapist, this process is a reality that can provide great insight. It is important for each and every one of us in a totally unique way because undoubtedly, childhood experience helps to shape the way we are as adults.
So what? Well, so what if you’re happy with how you are and functioning well. Many are. But some are not and what I’m proposing to highlight in this roundabout way, is that, through the gentle process of counselling, through the placing of trust in another, that we might discover a lost and barren voice held deeply hidden within us, a voice that says ………………….”I choose” rather than “I should.”