April 24, 2009

Question the "Seven Deadly Shoulds"

My friend Glenn alerted me to this wonderful list of beliefs from the book The Disease to Please by Dr. Harriet Braiker—a book about the addiction to approval.

"The Seven Deadly Shoulds"

1. Other people should appreciate and love me because of all of the things I do for them.
2. Other people should like and approve of me because of how hard I work to please them.
3. Other people should never reject or criticize me because I always try to live up to their desires and expectations.
4. Other people should be kind and caring to because of how well I treat them.
5. Other people should never hurt me or treat me unfairly because I am so nice to them.
6. Other people should never leave me or abandon me because of how I make them need me.
7. Other people should never be angry with me because I would go to any length to avoid conflict, anger, or confrontation with them.

After recently experiencing a week where I felt abandoned, unloved and unappreciated by some people who have been close to me for years, I saw myself so clearly in these thoughts. I invite readers of the Soul Surgery blog to do The Work on these issues along with me.

You can approach them either as universal beliefs—e.g. "People should love me," "I need appreciation for all that I do"—or specific to one person, for example, "My father should not have abandoned me."

Let me know what you discover. I will post some of my work here as well.

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