The Tyranny of “Shoulds”

Embracing Your Shadow: The Journey to Self-Acceptance

In the midst of life’s chaos—moving houses, questioning relationships, and returning from a pilgrimage—I found myself experiencing a “mini dark night of the soul.” This period wasn’t just about external changes; it was a deep internal reckoning.

The Dark Night of the Soul

“A dark night of the soul signifies a profound loosening of the binds that connect us to our perceived identity.”

During this time, I found myself relentlessly chewing my lip—a seemingly trivial habit but one that caused significant physical pain over days and weeks. This habit always coincides with times of crisis, signaling a deeper internal struggle.

The Real Crisis

“The real crisis was about my identity behind closed doors.”

Facing myself and looking into the shadow driving this lip-biting, I tuned into real emotions: frustration, fear, and rage. These emotions revealed a relentless pressure to be perfect, stemming from a deep feeling of powerlessness and unworthiness.

The Tyranny of “Shoulds”

“My internal dialogue was ruled by ‘shoulds’—an endless loop of self-criticism and the belief that I must do more to be good enough.”

Like many of us, this program had been running since childhood, where approval was earned through hard work and achievement. Despite being aware of this unhealthy pattern, the emotional fractures remained unhealed.

Physical Symptoms of Internal Turmoil

“The lip-biting was a physical symptom of this internal turmoil.”

My relentless pursuit of perfection and approval left me exhausted and in a constant state of suffering. It was time to stop, listen to the neglected parts of myself, and validate my feelings of unworthiness.

The Healing Process

“The healing process begins with acknowledging and accepting these shadow aspects.”

It required facing the heartbreak of not being seen and loved unconditionally by parents, society, and community. True healing involves understanding that seeking external approval and striving for perfection will never provide the unconditional love we desire.

Removing the “Shoulds”

“Removing the ‘shoulds’ from our lives creates personal sovereignty and allows for free choice unbound by programming.”

Imagine a world where the source of love is internal and unconditional, where we wake up each morning reminded of the love that resides within us. It’s time to stop the cycle of seeking external approval and start embracing our true selves.

A Call to Authentic Living

“Are you tired of the constant need for approval and the relentless cycle of striving for perfection?”

My anxiety stemmed from this dysfunctional pattern, and I had to make a change. I had to allow myself to look into my flaws and be honest—and it is an ongoing journey. The journey to self-acceptance involves facing our shadows, validating our emotions, and embracing our true selves. This can take a lifetime, but it is worth it. We cannot soar if we are being held down by shoulds. I encourage you to stop running and start living authentically. This is totally possible for you too!

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