So when does the word "should" help us and when does keep us form achieving our goals and developing a sense of personal well-being. There is nothing intrinsically wrong with the word "should", or in believing that there are things that we should do, however we need to be care and mindful of how we use this extremely powerful word. Karen Horney, the German psychoanalyst termed the phrase "Tyranny of the Shoulds". Through the years many psychologist, therapist, and health care workers, have used the concept to help their clients make a better adjustment to life. Albert Ellis stated that when our expectations are not constant with our own nature our belief becomes problematic. Of course we "should" wash the dishes if we want the to be clean, and we should nurture our children if we want them to be healthy. Although most of understand that our expectations need to be realistic for our own sanity, we continue to overwhelm ourselves with demands and expectations which are impossible to meet. In addition we create expectations for others that cause us excessive frustration and personal suffering. It is important to note that when we creat unrealistic expectations we are stimulating our "fight or flight", response and releasing cortisol. It is often the case that we don't see what we are doing, and how we create these unrealistic and inhuman expectations. It may at times seem as if the "shoulds", happen by themselves and we have nothing to do with them. We may only notice them when we become overwhelmed, stressed, anxious, and exhausted, or when someone lets us know what we are doing to ourselves. Too often our expectations do not match the reality of "what is", thereby causing us excessive stress and tension.
The Tyrancial "Shoulds"
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