Tara Brach is a mindfulness teacher and psychologist who says when you should on yourself, you argue with reality. The word ‘should’ shows a lack of acceptance and a disconnection with yourself.
I would add that it’s mean to should on yourself. I hear so many people on the healing journey who criticize themselves for their feelings.
Self compassion, on the other hand, says that your feelings are to be explored not judged. In fact, a helpful mantra goes, “I feel ___ and that’s the right way to feel.”
The common self-help advice to control your thoughts can be exhausting for someone who’s resolving childhood trauma. It’s more of the same “you’re not good enough and you need to change to be acceptable”.The common self-help advice to control your thoughts can be exhausting for someone who's resolving childhood trauma. Click To Tweet
What if, instead of judging your thoughts and feelings, you accepted them? Rather than policing your thoughts and feelings, let them be.
In addition to the mantra that how you’re feeling is right, you might add that it makes sense. After all you’ve been through, it makes sense to feel the way you do.
Instead of focusing on changing your thoughts and feelings, aim to comfort yourself through them. Give to yourself the care and attention your parents were unable or unwilling to give.
Offer yourself the emotional support you needed as a child. Instead of making your self-love conditional on you having different thoughts and feelings.
Why you should on yourself
I’ve expressed in a previous post my problem with the saying, “it’s your responsiblity to heal.” To me, this is a form of shoulding on yourself.
I’ve decided to rephrase the term to a more compassionate, “it’s loving to yourself to heal.” Doesn’t that feel better?
When we say it’s our responsiblity to heal or we should feel something different than we do, we repeat old patterns from childhood. Without the model of how to treat ourselves with grace, we default to the old wagging finger of discipline.
The healing journey is not linear. It goes up and down and all around. There will be times when you regress and those are times for compassionate self care.
When you should on yourself, you tell yourself you’re not good enough. You probably know by now that such negative self talk only demotivates you and creates shame.When you should on yourself, you tell yourself you're not good enough. Click To Tweet
It tells you you’re not where you’re supposed to be. It ignores all the difficult work you’re doing and focuses instead on the fact you’re not doing it perfectly.
That perfectionist is your inner child trying to protect you. She’s the one who needs your comfort and care.
She needs to know perfection is not a prerequisite for love. She also needs to know she’s no longer in charge and tough love is not how you operate anymore.
So, the next time you should on yourself (which I promise will come), say instead I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be. I feel ___ and that’s exactly the right way to feel.