Balancing our “Shoulds” with our “Want To” Lists

I was chatting with a colleague at the water cooler last week, and I was sounding off about all the things I ‘should’ be doing.  More exercise (any exercise if I’m honest!), cutting back a little on client work as I focus on my new project that demands a lot of time just now, spending more time with my beautiful five year old girl, getting all my paperwork and administration in order.  Getting back to my own personal therapy.  Moan, moan.  Things to do lists.  Yuck.

 My colleague is not only a counsellor, she is also a music and singing teacher.   She in turn was chatting about a singing lesson group she had brought together and she was fascinated in the dynamic happening in the group.  It had turned into a kind of ad hoc group counselling session.  As each member released their voice further, they were able to talk about what the block had been, preventing their voice from going further – stopping them from expressing themselves.  Powerful stuff.

 It reminded me yet again that one of the things I’ve always wanted to do was take singing lessons.  I’m no Diva, but I can hold a tune and I love music.  I enjoyed being in my school choir over 20 years ago, but never did anything more with singing once I left school.  I always just wanted the confidence to be able to sing in front of a group of friends at a social gathering if there was a singsong happening – which happens frequently in Ireland.

 My colleague challenged me then, on my ‘should’ vs my ‘want’.  “Which do you want to do more Emma? Singing, or exercise?”  This question reminded me of how often I challenge clients on their list of “shoulds”, a word I believe ‘should’ be banned from the English language as it allows us to put far too much pressure on ourselves.

 So the next day, I rang my colleague, and told her I wanted to start singing lessons after the Easter break.  She asked if I wanted to join her group, but I said no, I wanted to have an hour a week, all to myself, doing something I wanted to do for me – sing.

 However, once I let go of my ‘shoulds’ and instead allowed myself to have something I WANT, something else happened.  I received an application for an unpaid placement from a student (who could help clear my admin/paperwork backlog).  I approached my sister about her Pilates classes and she has given me a slot in a class tomorrow.  And I told my husband we were taking next week off to spend time together as a family.

 I’m just wondering now about the domino effect here.  I let go of one ‘should’ and chose a ‘want’ instead, but it seems to have set off a whole chain of small but positive events.  Co-incidence? Or some sort of cosmic message?  Why not test the theory for me, and let me know how YOU get on.  Let go of a ‘should, and pick a ‘want’ to do.  See what happens.

 I’d love both comments to this blog and/or tweets to @EDRBlog.  Have a great day.