That damn word ‘should’ litters our thoughts, at least it does mine, and often my clients too. If pressed I guess I could say, on the positive side, it’s the word that has kept us safe and able to socialise with others in our society. It’s the word that is left over from being taught right from wrong.
Problem is this right from wrong goes from useful not breaking the law sort of ‘shoulds’ (although I guess some of those are debatable); to how we should live our lives, what we should want, how much money we should earn, what we should like. These ‘shoulds’ are passed down through parents, friends, society and can move us away from our real passions, desires and even the ‘silly’ things we get pleasure from.
Counselling can often get beneath these ‘conditions of worth‘. But what has struck me recently is how the should gets into absolutely everything…..
I like to create pieces of art/music, actually that’s not entirely true, I like to start something. I like to think up an idea and begin to play it. What I don’t particularly like is finishing it off, because by the time I am half way through a piece… I’m dreaming about the next one (or several). This is probably something which affects most creative people, as a very developed right side of the brain is future focused and is the area known to be most creative. Imagination is almost the opposite of living in the here and now.
But there of course is a ‘should’ about productivity, and in order to be valued in any way as an artist I need to produce something other people can experience. I do understand this, and it’s got a bit mixed up. For fun I like to create and think and I’ve popped a ‘should’ (hidden as a need) in there, that I need to finish in order to be acknowledged. I am free to start things and not finish them if that’s what I want. So that’s what I’ve done. And as a testament to the ‘paradox of change’ I have now finished off something which I feel proud of….
The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change – Carl Rogers
So what am I saying in all this? Simply this, give yourself a break, do something you like until the point you don’t like it, don’t question it, let it happen, do it for fun, acknowledge that this is simply you enjoying your self in a creative way and not pandering to the needs of society. Focus on what you have created and enjoy it, trust yourself and maybe something will happen you never thought possible.