In Black Clover, there is a witch queen who, besides having scary levels of magic, also insists on perfection in every aspect of what she sees or considers her domain. To be imperfect can bring a quick execution or less dire thing like suspending a child locked in a cage for years to perfect her magic skills that would be of use. As far as I can tell she also leads a lonely and angry life, filled with shoulds. (and here I stop for spoiler law, it’s just too good to spoil).
There are so many shoulds in our lives, things that we hear, read, & think to ourselves all throughout the day. We place it on others when they don’t do what we would, or what we think would have been the right choice. Objects are not even safe, remember that appliance that wasn’t broken but still annoyed the crap out of you often because of a design flaw? Thinking “It should be different!” makes it even harder on your emotions. Should is easy to use hindsight as a way to beat yourself up or increase your anger towards another.
When used in a negative manner, should is a nasty word with supposed to running close behind when used in a negative manner. For instance: You have a baby crying. You definitely go and find out what’s going on and solve it. Your new necklace is too tight. You should have a skinnier neck to match trends, it’s so big, how did you let yourself get this way? Instead, you need to find a necklace that fits without the guilt & pain. That’s a personal experience, my body rarely fit trends. Do your best to look at each one as logically as you can. Decide with wisdom, required is not a bad should.
Think about a child that still has a healthy relationship with their body. Can it do things? Jump? Run? Throw? Woohoo! It’s a body and its mine! That’s the goal for all of us right there. As we get older, the tween years is just the beginning. The time when their bodies start to do new and not always desired changes. Add in some peer pressure and that relationship may become uneasy. Media, friends, and family all have an influence, especially the parents that hate their own bodies, vocally and openly. It rubs off. That 10 pounds or belly you’re always pinching sends a message to be dissatisfied. It’s filled with Shoulds.
Keeping on the attractiveness/scale trend teens and adults are not safe by any means. Everyone from the media to your friends is talking about a new diet, workout craze. I remember one from my high school years where you could eat one movie-sized box of Junior Mints and a half cup of Coke. Pure sure, great diet right? The common refrains are, “I should eat less, I should not have pudge here, I should work out every day or more, the list is endless. I’m supposed to have a better body. If I’m not doing all these shoulds then obviously I’m fat, ugly. and it’s my fault.
This isn’t just for body image, it’s across the board. At work, the bar, at home, there’s potential for it to turn into a ‘should’. Psychologists have written quite a few articles on how should place unrealistic expectations of yourself and others because they’re outside of your current reality. These are the words that serve to punish you further after a mistake or failure. I must be perfect! Is a quick way to not get anything done while swimming in a sea of anxiety and self-chastizement. I should have used a different color! I’m supposed to be a designer! I messed up! I’m a failure! Alternately, you could repaint. See that one, the realistic one that doesn’t come up until the personal lambasting is complete.
For the mentally ill, surrounded by stigma, fear, & difference, it’s the same story, though mine usually starts as “What in the flap am I supposed to feel like?” Then it goes to I should act like a normal person, feel like a normal person. I should seem fine outside the house! For me at least, these shoulds make life a nightmare. I’m trying to do all I can to function in society, but once those shoulds rain in I lose a lot of progress, stalling out or retreating, it even triggered depression once.
I am using examples that don’t apply to everyone, but the message does and it can be harmful. Beating yourself up over something is a wasted use of time and emotional pain and destructive to your self-esteem. At work, in public, with your family, on your own. It’s not just the big events in your life that destroy you in hindsight, embarrassment, or mistakes you believe you made. It’s the constant little things, insidious and pervasive that affect you deep down, the more it builds the more it shows itself on the surface with anxiety or related conditions. It influences your decisions of entertainment. “I want to go to this restaurant, but I should go to this other one, it’s more popular.”
My goal is to pay attention more and see where the shoulds trip me up, then look for a way to reword them. Try taking the shoulds out of your life, if only in the area of internal thought. Do use your judgment. If my baking isn’t right, it’s out in the trash. However, if a skinnier woman comes into the jimjilbang I finally don’t get down on myself for not doing everything I could to look slimmer. This article does not apply to death, illness, or other very serious topics.
Baking Tip: The 8-hour ice pack can also be used when you need a chilled mixing bowl. I came up with this after dealing with walking back & forth to the refrigerator while making Swiss Meringue Buttercream. After I started I could make the frosting quickly & without issue. Saran wrap works on the smaller mixers.
Scale Free Life Update: Today went ok, I only had a moment when I saw the scale was gone. I also allowed myself this barley drink at the Jimjilbang noting that I don’t have to worry about the scale tomorrow. The rest of my macros are still good. Let’s see how it goes tomorrow when the body comp machine will be right there in the stretching area.