Here are some things I hear from clients.
My daughter shouldn't be using drugs.
My son should be going to school.
My husband shouldn't argue with the kids.
My wife should be happier.
My Mom should call me more.
My Dad should want to spend time with his grandkids.
My sister-in-law should consider my feelings.
I shouldn't be sick.
I should have more energy.
My work should be more accommodating.
My friend shouldn't have died.
My son should turn in his homework.
My husband should get a hobby.
My wife should want to spend time with me in the evenings.
I should be able to trust my Mom: she should follow through when she says she's going to do something.
The thought in parentheses with all of these "should" thoughts is: "and so something has gone wrong."
Can you accept the reality of how things are right now without thinking it should be different? The truth is, you ARE sick, or your kids ARE using drugs, or your wife DOESN'T want to spend time with you in the evenings. And arguing with reality or ruminating on why it should be different isn't doing you any favors.
What if nothing has gone wrong? What if things are exactly how they should be? Could that possible? In what way? Challenge yourself to think about this and truly give it a chance.
Life is supposed to be full of challenges. That's how we grow and improve and get stronger.
Thinking that something has gone wrong is making you miserable. It's not solving the problem. It actually KEEPS you from accessing the creative part of your brain that is great at finding solutions. It's making you show up not as your best self. And here's the kicker: it's sometimes making it MORE LIKELY that things will remain how they are. Your thoughts always dictate how you feel, your feelings drive all your actions, and your actions create your results. Whatever you think always ends up in the result line in one way or another.
Check out one possible example model:
Circumstance: My Mom called me on my birthday this year, but did not call any other times.
Thought: My Mom should be calling me more (and so something has gone wrong -- we should be closer)
Action: I don't call my mom; I don't tell her how I feel; I don't share with her when good things happen; I don't tell her when I need help; I judge her; I blame her; when we ARE together or talking on the phone, I hold back
Result: I'm not close to my mom
Do you see how in this model, I am responsible for creating the result I don't want (side note -- I DON'T create and am NOT responsible for my mother's results -- that SHE is not close to ME. SHE creates that; How I show up though, can influence what she decides to create). That's the best news! Because when we see our role, we find where our power lies. It. never lies in changing the other person. It always lies in changing ourselves.
Can you accept things, situations, and people exactly as they are right now? It's ok to wish they were different, but can you find purpose in the journey? Can you find peace ... even if? Can you see the bigger picture?
It feels so much better. And when you release some of the emotional baggage keeping you stuck, you're free to let your brain work on the problem from a cleaner place. Give it a try.