The 3 Shoulds That Shouldn’t Hold You Back In Life

By Anni


Don't let these "shoulds" hold you back in life!

The name of my website – Solutions To All Your Problems – was meant to be hyperbole, making light of the mountain of problems I was facing in my own life when I first started the blog years ago.  My original tagline was:

“I’m just an average someone with more than average problems.  This is where I share solutions that have worked for me with the hope that some of them might work for you too.”  

A few times that name has elicited negative feedback for “promising too much,” and yes, I can see where those critics are coming from.

But here’s the way I like to think about it.  Even if I can’t personally hand you solutions to all your problems, what I would like to be able to do is share information and tools that will help you find the solutions you need for yourself. 

In that spirit, what you are reading right now is the first in a series of articles discussing how to get the support you need whenever you are faced with a tricky enough problem in life that friends and family won’t cut it – be it with career, relationships, personal wellness, or just general life satisfaction.  

When I was searching for solutions to my own problems, one big frustration was that I kept looking for help in the wrong places, and then I would get massively discouraged when I saw no improvements.  And throughout it all, I had the nagging sense that none of this “should” be going down the way it was going down.

I was so dissatisfied with my life and so stressed out that my mental and physical health were tanking, but the beliefs circling around in the back of my mind went something like this:

This shouldn’t be so hard.

I should be able to figure out my life on my own.

I shouldn’t be spending money on something I should be able to figure out on my own.

And on and on and on.  

But what I know now is that all these “shoulds” were holding me back big time.  Here’s how.    

Don't let these "shoulds" hold you back in life!

The 3 Shoulds That Shouldn’t Hold You Back In Life

1. I Should Be Able To Solve All My Problems On My Own

I used to think that needing help meant that I was somehow fundamentally flawed.  If I would just try harder, everything would fall into place, right?  Other people seem to be just happily moseying along and not getting stressed by “normal” life.  Other people don’t need help figuring out how to live life.  If I just put my mind to it, I’ll figure out their secret and copy it.  Right???

Well, wrong.

First of all, lots of people struggle with “how to live life”.  So while some people are happily moseying along, many people aren’t.  We don’t just pop out of the womb with all the knowledge and skills that we might ever possibly need implanted into our brains.  Knowledge and skills are passed on from other people.

Second, introverts and highly sensitive people are particularly vulnerable to struggle, because their needs are different from the majority and this fact isn’t typically included in the life instruction we receive from families, friends, schools, and society as a whole.

So while some people just happen to get the right kind of guidance growing up and their lives fall into place with seemingly no effort, many introverts and highly sensitive people never received: 

  1. The memo stating that the Mainstream Good Life Template is going to need to be modified in order for life to actually feel good.
  2. The follow-up memo stating that, yes, humans are allowed to modify the Mainstream Good Life Template, and no, doing so doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with you.
  3. The Instruction Manual that outlines how to go about making those modifications. 

And that’s why many of us make it way into adulthood still needing the help that the mainstream folks already got way back when.

So these days, when I have a problem, I try not to berate myself for having a problem, and instead, I ask myself this:

  • Do I already have a plan for solving this problem on my own and am I already making progress on that plan?

If the answer is no, then it’s pretty clear I need some kind of help.   

2. I Shouldn’t Have To Pay For Help

This “should” is tricky, because, yeah, it would be nice if we could all get everything we need and want without paying for it.  And yeah, depending on where you live, some kinds of services are paid for by tax dollars and offered at no or very little cost to you.

And yeah, if you literally don’t have the money, then no, you shouldn’t pay for what you can’t afford to pay for.

But there have been times when I could have used some paid help and actually did have the money, but I just didn’t want to spend it, because “I shouldn’t have to”.

And then there I was sitting with my money and my problems, feeling stuck, not knowing what to do, not moving forward.

Needless to say, that wasn’t a very effective strategy.

So nowadays, when I consider paying for a book, a course, or an in-person consultation, I ask myself these two questions:

  • If I pay for this help, what transformation or solution will I receive in return?
  • Is that transformation or solution worth the money spent?

3. All “Experts” Should Be All-Knowing

Now, even when I got over the first two shoulds – when I decided it was okay for me to look for help and it was okay to pay for it – I still stumbled, because I didn’t fully understand the limitations of any one “expert”.  I thought that anyone claiming to be able to help you with a particular problem “should” know everything there is to know about that problem.  I didn’t understand that most experts are trained in the use of a particular set of tools and those are the tools they are going to try using regardless of whether they are the best tools for solving my particular problems in my particular situation.

Repeatedly applying the wrong tools – like trying to use a saw to hang a picture on the wall – obviously led to a lot of frustration and nearly got me to give up hope on ever finding the right solutions for me.

But luckily I’m stubborn and I eventually did find what I needed.  And now I know to ask these questions when I consider consulting an expert:

  • What tools is this expert planning to use to help me?
  • What other tools are out there?
  • Are this expert’s tools the most appropriate in my situation?

For The Record, I’m Not An All-Knowing Expert (And I’m Not The Right Fit For Everyone)

Having solved a bunch of my own problems and having acquired a bunch of knowledge and training along the way, I’m now in a position to help other people solve their problems.  

As a life coach and mentor for introverts and highly sensitive people, I have quite a few tools in my toolbox that I like to share in my articles, other free resources, online courses, and 1:1 coaching packages.  These tools work great for some problems, for some people, in some circumstances.  

But maybe you have problems that go beyond my expertise or maybe you could use a different or an additional set of tools.  If so, please see my follow-up article, where I share a list of all the different kinds of experts that I personally keep on my call-list and when to consult each kind.  I’m hoping it’ll make it easier for you to find solutions to ALL your problems. 😀    

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About the author 

Anni

Hi! I'm a life coach, a Certified MBTI® Practitioner, and a mentor for stressed out introverts and highly sensitive people. I used to be one myself! My mission is to help you discover your true self and create a life you ACTUALLY like.

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