10 Times Women Need To Stop Should-ing All Over Themselves

by Lauren Martin

Is there anything worse than a bad case of the shoulds? Possibly the hypotheticals or the maybes, but it’s debatable. In my opinion, the shoulds are the worst. Because it’s the shoulds that give you that bloated feeling all day long.

Should I wear the pointed heels or the rounded? Should I text him now or later? Should I get the v-neck or the scoop neck? Should I eat now or save the calories? Should I go alone or try to find a date?

It’s exhausting. You can actually feel the energy draining out of you as you stand there. You can feel it leaking out, paralyzing you. For some, it’s enough to keep them bedridden for days, sometimes years.

I wish I could take credit for the witty and “genius” idea of should-ing, but that belongs to the illustrious Carrie Bradshaw of "Sex and The City.” While wrestling with the idea of babies in her future, Carrie steps in a big pile of should.

But why? Why are there so many shoulds to avoid stepping in? Why are women so bogged down by them?

Contrary to popular belief, women should much more than men. Monthly, daily, hourly, millions of shoulds are dropping through our lives. Almost every choice comes attached to one and every decision bears one at the end of its tail. It’s debilitating and can keep some us paralyzed for the rest of our lives.

We must get over these shoulds. We have to stop second-guessing every decision and overthinking every choice. We have to find a way to trust our gut and stop measuring our lives by all those preconceived notions of how things “should” be.

There is no time limit or check list you have to cross off. There is no right answer or better decision to be made. Your life is completely your own and should-ing all over yourself isn't going to make it any better.

Should I be in a serious relationship?

The most common should of all time. I’m not sure when it started, but women have been comparing their love lives to those of fake women for years.

It’s like their lives aren’t complete unless they have chosen the right side of the should equation. Rather than listening to themselves, they've started listening to all the shoulds of women around them.

Should I lose weight?

There should be no shoulds about weight. Weight isn't measured in hypothetical standards and if you think you should be a different weight, you need to think about why you're thinking that way.

Is it because of the people around you or is it about how you feel? Don’t ever let anyone should on your weight.

Should I have a better job?

I don’t know, should you? You know if you’re meant to be somewhere else. You know if there’s something better out there for you or if you’re just paying your dues.

There should be no confusion over how you feel, if there’s a nagging or a pressure you’ll know that you should be doing more than just sitting there thinking about it.

Should I want kids?

There are no shoulds about children. Either you want them or you don't. Just because our society promotes the idea that women should have children doesn't mean you have to adhere to that standard.

You are your own woman and that means making decisions about your right to give birth. Don't be one of those "should have" mothers.

Should I text him first?

Does it really make a difference? If texting first turns him off then it’s best that it happens in the beginning. You don’t want a guy who's into games because you’ll never win.

You’ll end up making a wrong move somewhere along the way and the stakes will only be higher.

Should I have sex with him?

If you're taking the time to should all over it, it probably won't be very good.

You should do whatever feels right for you, not what you think the circumstance dictates. Sex should never come with shoulds... There's enough out there to contract already.

Should I buy this?

Do you need it? Can you live without it? The basic rule of thumb when it comes to buying unnecessary purchases is to leave the item and if you’re still thinking about it the next day then you should buy it.

Because you don’t know how much you “need” something until you’ve seen your life with and without it.

Should I speak up?

This may be one of the hardest shoulds there is out there. While it can be difficult to decide if it’s your place or not to insert yourself, there’s usually that gut feeling of what to do.

The best way to solve this is to place yourself outside of the situation and look at it from a should-free standpoint. There should never be any should-ing around when it comes to helping someone, however.

Should I put on makeup?

You should do whatever makes you happy. If you’re comfortable with your bare face, leave it that way. Do not let any other people in your life make you feel like you need to look good for them.

You don’t need to dress up for anyone but yourself. Imagine how liberating your life would feel without wondering if you looked OK every second or every day?

Should I apologize?

This is an easy one. It goes back to grade school, before you were weighed down by the heavy load of shoulds. If you know in your heart you did someone or something wrong, apologize.

Never apologize, however, for speaking your mind or saying something someone else didn’t want to hear. Stand by your opinions and learn to be on your own side for a change.

Photo Courtesy: HBO/Sex in the City