It is vital that we learn to tell the difference between a prompting from our Spirits and one coming from the fearful ego — our own, or those of others. Any call to action not coming through your Spirit as inspiration can probably be labeled as a should, an ought-to, a supposed-to, or a have-to. These feel like pressure and usually lead to resistance and discomfort.
Shoulds and have-tos, of course, are just ego devices for calling you out of Easy World. When you respond to these Difficult World–based motivators that are originating either with your own fearful ego or the ego of someone else influential in your life, you will find yourself smack-dab in the center of Difficult World, feeling resentful. Resentment is definitely a DW anchor.
Listening to Should: The Voice of Fear & Doubt
Why would we let the ego-based demands of others mandate what we do? Because we fear that if we don't dance to their tune, we'll somehow be less loved, we'll lose status, or something else undesirable will happen. Guess what? That's another trick of the Difficult World Dictator to keep you in Difficult World. (Anytime fear is involved, you know who's behind it!) You may certainly create it to go down that way — the way that you're fearing — but you don't have to.
When you honor your own feelings and say no to doing things that someone else wants you to do but that you're truly not inspired and energized to, you are doing both of you a favor. You are honoring the Design for Harmony and offering the other person an invitation to join you there. They may not fully appreciate it in the moment, but, like my friend did after I declined her invitation to dinner years ago, they may later.
No "Shoulds" Allowed: Making the Choice to Be True to Yourself
I had been to her home for dinner a few nights before, and when she asked me again, I felt no inspiration or energy to go. She was newly separated from her husband and I knew she was lonely. As her friend, I would have gone, of course, if I had felt the slightest inspiration to, but when she invited me, I strongly intuited that it was not the thing to do. I could sense that it was her fearful ego issuing the invitation to try to avoid being alone with herself, facing the inevitable.
I briefly contemplated whether I should go, but the answer was clearly "No." When I said, kindly but without an excuse, that coming over was not what I needed to do that night, she asked me if I already had plans. When I said that I didn't, and offered no reason for not going other than that it didn't feel like the right thing for me to do, the silence was palpable, but she let it go without further protest.
Following the Voice of Spirit is Liberating for Everyone
It was only many years later — long after it had slipped my mind — that she mentioned it again, and when she did, it was to thank me.
"When you did that, I was hurt," she admitted, "but I know you did the right thing. I was really able to get in touch with my feelings of abandonment that night when I was alone so that I could start to heal them. And the way you handled it taught me a valuable lesson about being true to myself. Because you were true to yourself and said no to me when that was what felt right to you, and you did it without flinching or making up an excuse, I learned what being true to oneself looks like. Now I do that for me. I am truly grateful for that experience. It liberated me!"
Don't "Should" on Yourself: Paying Attention to Your Inspiration & Motivation
One of the most empowering things you can do for yourself and others is to be true to your own relationship with the Design for Harmony and do only what you are inspired to do. Pay attention to your motivation for action, and if there is a "should" behind it, consider whether or not it is going to enhance your life to follow through on it. (A hint: Operating outside the Design for Harmony never will.) If not, be sure you're in Easy World, centered in Love, and as clearly, kindly, and gracefully as possible, opt out.
You can trust that if doing something isn't right for you, it won't be right for anyone else, either. The only Easy World reason for action is inspiration. If you do anything for any other reason, you are not in Easy World, and you are not in alignment with the Design for Harmony; therefore, nobody wins.
Where Do Shoulds Come From?
Though shoulds are usually provided by other people, they can also be your own mental constructs based on conclusions you've drawn from the world around you. They may be rules you picked up from your parents, teachers, or other role models.
Consider the grim humor in this: You may still be allowing your actions to be dictated by the egos of people who have been out of your life for decades, and some of them may not even be on the planet anymore!
Just say yes to Easy World, and you automatically say no to shoulds.
©2010 Julia Rogers Hamrick. All rights reserved.
Reprinted with permission of the publisher,
St. Martin's Press. www.stmartins.com
This article was excerpted with permission from the book:
Choosing Easy World: A Guide to Opting Out Of Struggle and Strife...
by Julia Rogers Hamrick.
Contrary to what we’ve believed, life does not have to be hard. And it was never intended to be! Choosing Easy World explores the concept that there is a parallel reality we can access where everything works out effortlessly, harmoniously, and in support of our highest possibilities for well-being. Choosing Easy World provides readers with inspiration, instructions, and support for doing so themselves.
About the Author
JULIA ROGERS HAMRICK, author of Recreating Eden: The exquisitely simple, divinely ordained plan for transforming your life and your planet, has been a spiritual-growth facilitator since the early 1980s. After having been a visual arts instructor in both public and private schools at the onset of her teaching career, she left the formal world of teaching in 1983 and began designing and facilitating spiritual-growth experiences featuring such diverse topics as recovering creativity, reclaiming self-esteem, the spiritual aspects of nutrition, inner-child healing, sound healing using the human voice, aromatherapy, and more. Visit her website at www.juliarogershamrick.com.