should this!

should this!

I was in the beach parking lot when SOMEONE drove OUT the one-way entrance!  Crazy, I know!  The lot is set up so that you enter in one way and exit out the other side always going the same direction.  I said to myself, as if I were the parking lot police, “They’re going the wrong way!”  Then I laughed remembering one of my favorite scenes of the movie, “Planes, Trains and Automobiles,” with Steve Martin and John Candy.  In a scene in the movie, they are completely unaware of driving down the freeway the wrong way.  A couple on the other side of the freeway is yelling at them, “YOU’RE GOING THE WRONG WAY!  YOU’RE GOING IN THE WRONG DIRECTION!” Steve Martin relays the message to John Candy who is driving and he replies: “Aw he’s drunk. How would he know where we’re going?!”  Ha! I love that scene!  On this particular day, when I saw someone going out the entrance I thought of that line in Planes, Trains, and Automobiles, It reminded me that we never know where someone else is going.  Whether it be in their car or on their journey in this lifetime. Yes, in the movie, they were being warned that they could injure someone or themselves, but that’s what they were doin’ and from that experience, they created an everlasting friendship.  We never know what someone’s experience will bring to them.  I think it is important to remember to honor where everyone is on THEIR own path.  Even if you don’t agree with it. It doesn’t mean you don’t care or have love for them.
So often we offer advice to friends, colleagues and sometimes even strangers without a person ever asking for it.  We think we know what is best for them.  I am definitely guilty of doing this!  I love giving my two cents!  I have to continuously remind myself that everyone is on their own journey, at their own pace, including myself!  I strive to find love and acceptance for myself and others.

Many times, people are just wanting someone to listen.  I am getting better at being able to be in empathy, holding space for the other person for what they are saying or the situation they are in without judgment or offering up my thoughts.  In NVC  (Nonviolent Communication) we talk about holding empathy for another.  This means that you listen with an open heart and be in the moment.  It takes practice, patience, and awareness to be able to listen to someone without interjecting your opinion mentally or aloud.  But in doing so, you allow for the other person to connect with themselves and come to resolutions in their own divine time.  If the person asks for advice or suggestions, then fire away, but if we say something that WE think is helpful and they are not ready to hear it, they WON’T hear it.  It is important to remember that you do not know the lessons they are here to learn.
Thinking we know what is best for someone else can build up resistance from them.  I know for me when someone tells me I “should” do something,  I can get a little huffy and put up an internal wall.  After my divorce, I had many people saying to me “Erin, you should join a dating website.  Join a dating website! JOIN A DATING WEBSITE! ” It was a “should” I heard often!  I wasn’t ready to date for about a year.  Up until then, I wanted to respond to my friends and family, whether married or not, ” YOU should join a dating website!”  Even though I knew they meant well and were wanting to help, I didn’t like someone telling me what I “should” or “shouldn’t” do.  We all like to know we have a choice and when someone says “should or shouldn’t,” it feels as though we no longer do.
Just as it is true when in conversations with others, it is true for conservations with ourselves.  When saying to ourselves: “Ugh, I should take out the trash, I should read that book, I should call my mom,” that catapults us into the future and out of the present.  When I say to myself:  “Ugh, I should have said this, I should have not eaten those 10 cookies!”  that shoots me back into the past and out of the present. In NVC Marshall Rosenberg actually labels the word “should” as violent.   It is a word that creates feelings of guilt and shame.  “Should” is a way in which we judge ourselves.  Think about it,  saying: “I should have done this or that,” is telling yourself that what you did do or what you are doing is not the “right” or the “proper” course of action.  It says That you “should” be somewhere else in life.  This creates friction or a battle within.  When we live our life from a place of “should,” “*Our actions arise from an energy that is devoid of life-giving joy.”

My mom called as I was writing this blog about “shoulds.”  She and my stepdad were on their way to the airport. I said to her, “Did you eat lunch?  You SHOULD eat something before you get on the plane.”  As if she doesn’t know when she is hungry or not.  She laughed and said, “Okay MOM!”  In an instant, I realized what I had just said to her!  I told her what my blog was about, what I was literally writing before she called and we laughed like two hyenas!  Life is a continual learning experience and an ever-changing adventure!
Next time you “should” yourself or catch yourself “shoulding” another person and want to shout “YOU’RE GOING THE WRONG WAY!,” take a second and breathe. Bring yourself into the moment and hold yourself or the person with you in empathy.  Listen.  Maybe another way to respond will emerge.  Maybe you will recognize that listening is what is needed in the moment.  Maybe you can embrace yourself with more love and acceptance.  And maybe you can come to a place of moving through life from a place of joy as opposed to “shoulds” and “have to’s.”


And for a laugh:
*Nonviolent Communication: A language of life by Marshall Rosenberg P.131

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