As I was mowing the lawn the other day I looked disparagingly at the clumps of plants and flowers cropping up everywhere, in comparison to our neighbours who seem to have a flawlessly uniform green blanket of a lawn.
“Aggh, why do these things keep growing?”
“This lawn looks like crap no matter what I do”. (Which is not much, by the way).
Away went my inner dialogue with all the expectations and shoulds of what a lawn looks like if the owners are half decent.
Then I actually laughed out loud when I stopped and realized the absurdity of it. The so-called ‘weeds’ were actually beautiful little purple and yellow flowers sprouting up in the most perfect conditions. Who ever said what a lawn should look like? Who ever said we should have front and back green patches of grass around the structures called houses where we spend most of our time that protect us from the elements?
When you spread this realization out into the rest of our lives, it’s pretty profound.
Who originally said we should work 9-5?
Why do we adhere to clothing rules?
Who said kids should go to college? Super successful and happy people often don’t.
Who even said we should strive to be happy?
‘I should be nice, good, stay at the same job, eat vegetables everyday, believe in this, have lots of friends, win, have a clean house… on and on’
Or even worse: ‘They shouldn’t do that, be like that, say that, dress like that’ or probably the biggest time consumer and energy drainer: ‘that shouldn’t have happened’ or ‘that better not happen!’.
These are all expectations of how we think our lives should go. They can also set us up to think we shouldn’t suffer and something is wrong if life doesn’t go our way.
See how that keeps us in fear?
I know plenty of exceptions to all these rules. In fact, the people who come along and break these conditioned norms make huge contributions to the planet and create amazing things . They are also some of the most interesting people around. I LOVE when I see people expressing themselves in art, voice, taking a risk, putting it all on the line.
But putting WHAT on the line? Failure? Embarrassment? Rejection?
These are not even things unless we name them as such.
Think about that. They are not even things. But they are common fears of the ego, the small self who tries to keep us safe.
There are a billion ways to live this life, and not one of them is wrong.
If people tell you so, that is their small self speaking who is scared.
Go on, notice all the invisible rules in your life. Are they your parent’s rules, your community’s, your old school teacher’s from 40 years ago?
These ‘should’ rules are the biggest killers of your true self. When put to rest, it isn’t chaos I promise you.
It is a widening, more expansive perspective that can free you from self doubt, inner criticism and living the life you are ‘supposed’ to live.
Find examples of people who have followed their heart and you will soon see the impact they have on the world.
What one small ‘should’ can you let go of today?
Try doing the opposite.
I will be guiding a group through my online course ‘From Fear to Freedom’ this summer to overcome anxiety and start the fall with tool for freedom. Stay tuned for more info.
Love and freedom to all!
ps. I mowed around the clumps of flowers.. they were too pretty to destroy.