Don’t Should On Yourself

Don’t Should On Yourself January 3, 2023

I blew it, and I knew it. Our whole family was exhausted and working on little sleep, but we had out-of-town friends coming over for a weekend brunch in thirty minutes. My teenage son decided to take a long shower in that time, leaving me with no hot water and only ten minutes to take my shower. I was not happy, and I told him so. At my raised and forcible tone, his face crumpled.

Of course, I felt terrible. He’s a caring kid and had been working hard all morning to help us get ready. But did I say thank you for all that? No, I just berated him for the one thing he did wrong. I apologized – but I still felt terrible.

Have you ever been there? (Anyone who understands Mom Guilt is laughing that I’m even asking that question.) Maybe you’ve made a big mistake that has hurt your spouse or your kids, or have completely messed up something at work, and feel really bad about it. What do you do next? I’ve learned something crucial that not only helps in the moment – but makes things better over time!

The day I snapped at my son, I was still feeling bad as Jeff and I met close friends for dinner. I confessed why I was troubled, and said I should have handled everything so differently. In fact, with my forceful personality, I should probably be handling a lot of things differently.

The other husband gave me a smile. “Don’t should on yourself.”

Of course, when I heard that phrase, it initially sounded like he was saying something else! He laughed, and used air quotes. “Don’t ‘should’ on yourself.” As he explained how he applied that phrase with his employees as a leadership principle (originating with leadership author Jeremie Kubicek), I saw so many life-changing parallels in the relationship space.

So the next time you make a big mistake, here are four things to do that will not only protect but actually enhance your relationship!

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