KEW Episode 54: The Bully and your DNA: Part 1

Last week I introduced a few examples of the Are vs. Should problem. One of the most obvious examples comes up when we think about our careers. When we’re young people ask us what we want to be when we grow up. As adults, many of us wonder what became of those childhood dreams when we find ourselves doing jobs we don’t like. And I’ll argue it’s because we listen more to our Shoulds than to our Ares.

And this isn’t to say that Shoulds are all bad, because I think their intent is honorable. Our shoulds are single-minded in trying to keep us safe. As with our choice of career, the Should wants us to make enough money to take care of ourselves and to ‘be happy’. Unfortunately, the Should is a mosaic of all of the ‘responsible’ voices in our lives telling us what to do, how to think. and how to act in life in an effort to ‘be happy’.

The problem is, the Should isn’t YOU, and it doesn’t really understand what YOU want. The Should wants what ‘the world’ wants. What your teachers, parents, family, friends, and other close relationships want. The Should is modified by the tv we watch and the articles we read on the internet. The Should is deigned to keep the Are at bay, and to push this common agenda at all costs. I’ll talk more about the Are in Part 2 of this miniseries, but for now let’s just say your Are represents the ‘real you’ or your ‘true self’. Or something like that – whereas the Should is partly you, but is comprised of all the voices you hear everyday.

Historically, I think humans connected more with the ‘real you’, or ‘true self’. In other words, we used to listen to the Are more. The emerging problem is, we see a lot of Should in the world today. I’d say more and more people are spending more and more time in their Should than in years past, and humans are losing their Ares in the process.

I think a result of this increasing Should phenomenon is that the Should has become a bully. Rather than being just one of your many parts, the Bully has become the loudest, most feared, and threatening ally in our head. Due to the peaceful nature of our Are, the Should now represents the antithesis to the ‘real you’. The Should berates us, exaggerates reality, and will do anything to keep you from listening to your other parts. But it’s not only that the Should’s voice is becoming louder, it is becoming more and more stifling and homogenous.

The onset of social media, the Fear of Missing Out (FOMO), and the idea that everyone else is more perfect than you further strengthens our Shoulds. Now our Should aims even higher. To perfection, even, making it impossible to get even close to achieving what the Should would tell us to achieve. To the point where many therapists and counselors suggest we don’t use Should statements at all because this line of thinking sets us up for failure, depression, anxiety, and frustration.

So somehow this Should part of our ‘self’ has gotten way out of hand. The should is taking over who we imagine ourselves to be and creating anxiety, depression, and frustration. It is time to regain control of the voices in our heads by realizing there is a dictator in charge that needs to be checked. And one of the easiest ways to do this is to reconnect with, and listen to, your Are.

Next week I’ll talk about the Are and why it is critical to rediscover yours.

To hear more about the Should side of your self, listen or watch the full Episodes below.

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FLASHBACK! KEW Episode 21: We All Feel Different (But We’re All the Same)

In this Episode I tried to capture the feeling we all have sometimes that we don’t belong. Some of us feel this way most all the time, others just every once in awhile. You may have experienced it as ‘Imposter Syndrome’, when you get a new job or join a team and feel like everyone else is better than you. You may just feel misunderstood, or that the people around you just don’t ‘get you’.

Regardless, this is a terrible feeling and one we can question, or push back on, because if we all feel this way, then aren’t we similar?

It’s true. If we’re all different then we’re all the same because we have that ‘feeling different’ feeling in common! Can’t we somehow come together through this?

The problem is, no one wants to talk about it. Admitting you feel bad, in any way, is hard and not high on the ‘socially acceptable’ list. Unless you are fortunate enough to have a group of friends and coworkers who are elevated enough to realize this. But few of us are.

I think the least we can do is to realize most people feel this way. The next step we can take is to be aware of when someone else might be feeling this way, and to connect with them somehow. Maybe you have a friend who is going through something. This is an opportunity to explore how they feel by listening. Maybe they’ll give you an opportunity to say, ‘you feel isolated and alone, I get that because I often do, too’. Or something. I don’t have all the secrets, I just want to live a better life.

I hope you get something out of this episode, even if it’s just feeling a little less isolated.

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KEW Episode 12: Fear

We all have fears about a lot of different things. Some are benign and don’t really affect our daily lives. Like a fear of spiders. Yeah, we freak out when we see one but most people don’t worry every time they put their shoes on that a black widow will bite them. Other fears can be absolutely crippling, like the fear of public places rendering some folks to never leave their houses.

Fear is also the root of anxiety and depression; anxiety is the fear of the future and depression is a fear of the past. These two cripple all of us to varying degrees and make it difficult for us to grow. Fear can make it extremely difficult for us to change our lives in positive ways.

Fear is also stigmatized, especially for men, because it is often viewed as being weak. My purpose this week is to reduce the stigma of fear, provide evidence that we all suffer from fear to varying degrees, and illustrate multiple lines of evidence about what we can (and can’t) do about it. As usual, I request a discourse that includes your comments and feedback about how we process fear in our lives.

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