Don’t Should on Me!

Dear Diary,

Last week I attended a 1 day training on motivational interviewing through the company I work for. I won’t lie, Diary, I fully expected it to be painfully boring. I was wrong. It proved to reinforce the concepts I have been learning on a personal level from many hours of therapy sessions. I have watched, first hand, a therapist that is truly gifted in motivational interviewing, pull information from someone that is fighting tooth and nail to hang on to it. It’s amazing to witness the words and emotions that spill forth when someone is given the proper space, comfort level, and support. Sometimes Karate Kid images come to my mind…wax on, wax off. If you are too young to understand that reference, than you are perfectly capable of googling Karate Kid references, Daniel-San.

During the training, the instructor opened up discussion about why our patients or clients might not provide us with valuable information. Is it because they are afraid? Maybe. Is it because they think they know everything already? Maybe. Is it because they have had too many people “should” all over them? Most likely.

We have all gone to appointments and had someone in the medical world say something like, “You know, you really should cut back on the amount of juice your kids drink.” My kids rarely drink juice. “You know, at your age you should exercise more.” Um, I go to the gym and sweat my ass off for an hour several times a week. And this one takes the cake, pun intended, since I am a Registered Dietitian…”You really should just eat more fruits and vegetables.” Thanks, I’ll work on that.

The point is, there are a lot of “shoulds” and “should nots” in our lives. Once those words come out, one common thing happens to the person that is getting “should” on. They stop sharing and shut down. They think, whatever, they don’t get me or my life or my problems, so what is the point of continuing this conversation. Done. Now you “should” on me and I am done-diddy-done with you. That’s one of my coined phrases, Diary, and you should know that as we move forward on this journey. When I am done with something or someone, I am DONE-DIDDY-DONE!

Like many other people, when I am done with someone “shoulding” on me, I’m not rude about it. I don’t get up and leave the room or tell them they are clueless…although that is tempting. No, like most others I sit there like a big old bobble head and politely say “Uh-huh, yeah, sure, uh-huh” as we civilized people are required to do.

Possibly even worse than a health care professional “shoulding” on you, is someone in your personal life “shoulding” on you. “Argh, I’m so frustrated that none of my clothes fit me.” Answer from your spouse or partner? “Well, maybe you should go with me to the gym once on a while.” Yes, yes I should, but that does not allow my ass to fit in these jeans at this moment in time but thanks for reminding me that I need to go the gym! Done. Diddy. Done.

What I, and most other human beings, need is to be heard. The interesting thing, Diary, is that most people have no clue how to listen and support other human beings. We tend to point out the obvious versus just listening to what others have to say. We place our own experiences, wishes, hopes, disappointments, fears, and needs onto them. The bottom line is that we all need to be more thoughtful in both our professional and personal lives about listening and supporting the people around us, no matter what.

At said training, a You Tube video was played. The title is “It’s NOT about the Nail” and its pure genius. Some will watch it once and get the true meaning the first time around. Others, may need to watch it a few times to get past the humor of it and connect with the underlying message.

On this journey of health and wellness, I have realized that it is essential to continue to surround myself with people that honor, respect, and support my goals. There are some relationships that will not survive because of this and there are some relationships that will thrive. Just like all journeys in life, we make the best decisions we can along the way, with the ultimate goal of self fulfillment in mind.

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