Should-ing Ourselves

Should-ing Ourselves

Recognizing the lies and jumping off the rabbit trail to nowhere.

How’s your week? Mine feels like a bit of whiplash.

You see this week in Texas, the wheels on the bus came off the bus. They came off the bus for many reasons, the least of which is we were not prepared for this.
Any of it.

And yet, most of us believed we should know what to do. You can see it in the interviews and the shock many Texans have walked.

Each day, really each hour had the potential for disaster or hesitant relief. After living in Minnesota for so many years, they amount of snow we got wasn’t much, perhaps 5 to 10 inches. The temperatures were 30 degrees higher than the worst Minnesota gave us…and yet, that snow, a bit of ice and 4 days of temps between 0 and 15 destroyed so much.

The fact of the matter was, we couldn’t not know what to do.

These Texas houses are not built for this type of winter event, not for a week. With waterlines and gas lines running in outside walls and in the attic, with limited insultation…well it broke.

Resourceful or Incapable

When things like this happen in life, believing we are resourceful and adventurous, we turn on ourselves and then question ourselves and really everything.

Where did we go wrong?

In some ways, it is productive. Because of the storm we will most likely be investing in additional insulation, especially around the pipes, and perhaps a whole house back up generator. Adding not only to the house’s integrity but to our peace of mind, which is one of the worst things I gave up during the week.

Losing our peace of mind and diving into asking questions like where did we go wrong, sends many of us in to distracted and unproductive place. A place full of should.

For me the shoulds included, I should have put foam insulation in this house already. I should have had the special plug I needed for the generator installed last summer. I should have gotten milk.

I should have known this was coming and prepared better.

The fact of the matter is, in Texas we really do not know what the weather will be until it arrives. In Minnesota, we could see it march from Seattle to the Minnesota state line, fairly predictable and stable. Here though, that is not the case. Think tornados and baseball size hail from a few years back punching holes in roofs. That is a scary thought.

Today these shoulds surround the weather here and preparations that should or should not have taken place.

Should-ing Please

In relocation, should-ing ourselves is almost like a new hobby we take up in the process.

“I’d like to sign up for the Should-ing hobby please.”

Last week I was talking to yet another EXPAT. Again we landed at questions like “Why is this so hard?” And statements like “I should know how to do this.”

For those of you who have relocated before this thought will not be new, and yet we all think it in our first relocation, our second relocation, our third relocation and every one after. I was talking to Robert Fletcher from Heart Relocation out of London this week and he said that their surveys showed that relocating families typically say that their 3rd relocation is just as hard if not harder than their 1st.

Doesn’t this seem hard to believe? That with 2 relocations under their belts that the third one is even more difficult? It seem like it would be easier…not harder.

After 15 relocation throughout my life…I know that each one is just a bit different and there is plenty I do not know…and still there is so much of life to be transferred and replanted…hopefully in fertile soil, but even with that experience, nothing is guaranteed.

Should-ing arrives when people/processes/products DO NOT meet our expectations are sneeky and may only flash in our brains. We may not see the flash, but if we pay attention, direct results will follow.

Be on the Lookout

One of the early concepts I teach my clients is to record and watch what is going on up there. Up there in that brain of ours. All of the thoughts that march through strongly or flash almost unseen…

Watch for them when something that you actually do know how to do, goes wrong. The shoulds most common are a form of self judgement.

I shouldn’t be thinking that, I know better.

When we see an ugly or unproductive thoughts, many of us push them down inside. Deep …. Deep…down inside. We think we are pushing them out or getting rid of them but they do not go. As a matter of fact, when we push them down rather than processing them, they grow in the basement of our minds, fed by every push, every bit of fight and ignoring we can give them. Eventually they escape in unusual and destructive ways as an ugly monster.

For me that looks like irritability and frustration, and unchecked lands square in Overwhelm.

And overwhelm, as we discussed a few weeks ago gets us nowhere.

They Mean Well…

It sounds like truth.

Those should that are causing trouble in our relocations are told to us by our family, our friends and even our employers. People we trust are saying these things in encouragement but actually, these shoulds are detrimental and set us up for potential failure.

Because these shoulds, tell us that we are less than and incapable.

The first should thought causing trouble is that “this should be easier”.

It sounds like truth. I leads though to questioning ourselves…asking what am I missing. That sets up the failure because it assumes that I am missing something. And that assumes that I am incapable to getting it the first time. One false truth leads to another to support the original assumption, I am missing something.

Every missed expectation, every tear after school, every thing wrong provides proof of that.

“This should be easier” belief leads down a path to frustration and potentially overwhelm is. Initially, it may be only a flash thought pushed aside.

Flash ~ Long Blink ~ Solid Neon Sign

However, after it has flashed in time after time, it can start to wear us down. That flash of “This should be easier” becomes a long blink, and before you know it the brain has created a solid rock foundation of information and “proof” and that flash has turned into a bright neon light shining in the window as we try to get some sleep. Now that I miss things is believed as truth, practical things of life truly starts to fail.

Because…If I miss things, then I shouldn’t make decisions. I can’t make decisions. When we truly believe this about ourselves, can you imagine what happens next? How does life change?

For those of you who may be new to the podcast I want to help you understand why we are talking about what we are thinking as opposed to strategies or the how to get out of whatever challenge we have landed in.

The reason is because how we think about something determines how we walk through, how we experience it & where we end up.

So, if we really lean into “This should be easier.” Where does that go? Many times for me it morphs into ~ this is difficult. This is a direction for the brain.

The brain LOVES direction and if it is driving after proof, especially to get us to run away and be safe it finds it, all of it. This means that rather than seeking to solve the problem, our brains go full throttle to find the proof and distracts everything with “This is hard”.

Distractions Multiply

How does thinking this is hard help? It doesn’t. It only distracts. It consumes our brain power and prevents us from thinking as clearly as possible. All of it keeps solutions out of sight and none of it get us any closer to the solution.

The bonus is that this distraction turns to negative self-judgement,
a debilitating set of thought that dig this pit even deeper.

And there is a second “should” that drips of self-judgement and loathing that takes all of this to yet another level, another deep pit that goes nowhere.

It is more insidious because it is personal and this lie presents as truth. “I should know how to do this”

Personal Destructive Should

I mean really! We are grown adults. We are intelligent and resourceful. We have this life thing down. And yet, during relocation and the months or even years after, when the littlest thing goes sideways, we believe and apply it.

From “I should know how to do this” to chaos and letting everyone down.

On repeat this gets loud. It is like we are searching for something we used to know, but have forgotten(driving Self-Judgement). And now because we have forgotten this “valuable piece of information”, we cause chaos and let ourselves down, our families and potentially impacting the career that brought us here.

That is quite a rabbit trail isn’t it.

From “I should know how to do this” to chaos and letting everyone down.

Road NOT Taken

The problem with these thoughts? They do not lead to solutions. They do not motivate us to “Do Better”, they only drag us down trails to nowhere.

So how do we JUMP OFF this road?

In the moment, both of these seem very real… like truth. However, these “shoulds”, both of them are thoughts. Thought the brain is playing to keep us safe! Safe from all this danger…which in this case is our own emotions.

“Jump Off” is a Question

Pause when these should statements get rolling around and ask these questions.

        – “How else can I see this situation?”

        – “If I knew how to solve this, what would I do?”

        – “If (name of trusted person here) was in this situation what would they do?”

These questions redirect our brains. Instead of continuing to a place of overwhelm or hopelessness, these types of questions help our brains realize there may be another way to think about this.

Believing there could be another way, slows the hamster wheel to nowhere. That wheel does take effort to slow and eventually stop and even though it will take effort, but this is not impossible.

Jumping off just takes a bit practice.

Like Breathing Meditation

Have you ever tried a breathing meditation? At first it is quite a challenge. Starting with just listening to the breath, in – out , in – out, In – out….after 12 or 15 breathes…listening intently…my brain wanders off to the grocery list. When I realize I forgot to listen, I bring my thoughts back to the breath.

Redirecting the brain takes training and practice.

Think again about thought “I should know how to do this”, remember in the beginning of the podcast, what the Heart relocation survey said, the relocation got progressively more difficult not easier. In the light of that is this statement true? No.

In the case of protecting my house from a once in a decade winter storm…No, I shouldn’t know how to do this. And with each relocation, it changes. You have changed. The situation is different. They new community is vastly different.

From “I should know how to do this” to “No, I do not know how to do this, but I will figure this out.” This demonstrates the power of our thoughts and how impermanent they really are. The second one feels so much more powerful and will produce those kinds of results because of that.

Though some of the things we think seem impregnable, will never change or improve… this does not mean how we see it, is true.

And that my friend is the good news.

Relocation is wonderful journey, let me help you live your best life throughout.

Let’s Chat

If you would like to ask question about how to redirect your brain, to SEE a circumstance differently OR you would like guidance on living your best life, I encourage you to book a Consult today.  We will talk about where you are and where you want to be and how to live you best life in all stages.  Book your Consult by clicking on the Let’s Chat Button at the top of the ReloWomen webpage.  Choose a day and time that works for you.

I look forward to our chat.


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