Do you should on yourself?

A clean desk is the sign of a sick mind, or is a messy desk the sign of a cluttered mind?

It has been said that messy people are more creative.  The fact is that none of these points are true. Why is it that the people who don’t put things away are considered messy?  Why is it when a person is doing multiple things at the same time, it gets viewed as unorganized or chaotic? 

What if you were told your whole life that you were messy, or unorganized?  What if you were constantly reminded to do one thing at a time, or finish what you start, or put that away?  Do you think that if you consistently heard that message from others that you might start to think that there is something wrong with you?  Would you think that you should “just try harder”?

In a workshop this week, one of the members made the mistake of “should”ing on himself. 

He said that he “should be more organized, my desk shouldn’t be so messy, I should be more focused.”  In questioning him I asked him how long he had been hearing this message.  He said, “…ever since I can remember.” He heard it so many times from others, that he believed it to be true.  The funny thing is, even though he heard the message and internalized it, beating himself up because he couldn’t meet his own expectations, he still kept doing the same thing.  Imagine beating yourself up inside, just for being who you are, and have always been.  

If you have children, I invite you to watch how your children get things done.  Witness how your kids do things so differently, even though they were raised in the same house, under the same rules, with the same beliefs, by the same parents. When kids do things their way, it may be different than yours, but does that make them wrong?  Maybe your way isn’t their way. You may offer them solutions that could be well-meaning but are actually very poor advice. Keep getting them to do things your way, and they’ll grow up “should”ing on themselves. They will miss the opportunity to embrace that part of them that makes them awesome. They will believe that they have to work harder to be themselves, instead of operating naturally. 

Allow your kids to do things their way. Support them. Understand them.

Give them the freedom to be themselves.  Do this, and we won’t hear them should on themselves when they get older. When they have the chance to embrace and celebrate who they are, they can put that energy to where it needs to go instead of where they think it should go.  Be awesome. 

Heather Murphy