Often people ask ‘Why am I depressed? I should be happy!’ In this short sentence lies the core of the problem: ‘should’. How often do you use the word ‘should’ or ‘must’ or ‘have to’ in a day? In itself this is not a problem, the problems arise with how we respond when the world does not comply with our demands.
- You did not get the promotion that you SHOULD have been given
- Your children do not respect you like they SHOULD
- Your wife/husband is not as understanding as he/she SHOULD be
- People are not as polite as they SHOULD be.
These shoulds often lead to anger and despair. Anger at the world, at other people who do not behave in the way they SHOULD and despair about why we are treated by others in a way we SHOULDN’T be treated. This then can lead to depression and other mental health problems.
To overcome depression we need to let go of the shoulds and realise that there are NO SHOULDS in life. When we use a word like must or should, we are in fact dictating to the world and other people how things ought to happen. Well, let’s get real all our shoulds and musts are not more then personal preferences, sometimes strong preferences, but all the same OUR PREFERENCES. There is no law of the universe that states that the world should be run according to you or my personal preferences. Letting go of shoulds is the first step to recovery from depression. Learning to accept what is and not demand what you think should be leads to happiness and contentment.