“Should is how others want us to show up in the world — how we’re supposed to think, what we ought to say, what we should or shouldn’t do. It’s the vast array of expectations that others layer upon us. When we choose Should the journey is smooth, the risk is small.
Must is different—there aren’t options and we don’t have a choice.
Must is who we are, what we believe, and what we do when we are alone with our truest, most authentic self. It’s our instincts, our cravings and longings, the things and places and ideas we burn for, the intuition that swells up from somewhere deep inside of us. Must is what happens when we stop conforming to other people’s ideals and start connecting to our own. Because when we choose Must, we are no longer looking for inspiration out there. Instead, we are listening to our calling from within, from some luminous, mysterious place.” – An excerpt from Elle Luna’s “The Crossroads of Should and Must”
This article hit me deep in the pit of my stomach.
For years I found comfort in fulfilling a long list of Shoulds. Should inevitably drove me into divorced and therapy, and then into a dark place where I felt little passion or feeling about anything at all. Should molded me into a woman that “had her shit together” but had no idea what she wanted out of life. But our subconscious has a way of awakening what is within, especially at low points in your life. That’s when I was confronted with Must.
Must is certainly a daunting call to action that sits comfortably at the core of your authentic self– feeding off the exciting and terrifying thought: “what am I capable of?” Must encourages you to trust your gut and take the risk, because you truly BELIEVE in yourself.
Last year, Must drove decisions in my personal life that resulted in happiness I could only dream of. This year, Must is driving the shift in my career. Am I a blogger? Yes, kind of. What does a Creative Consultant do? It’s an answer that is hard to formulate into a simple sentence. Is this what I’ll be doing in 10 years? I’m not sure. And even right now, I wear so many hats, it’s become clear that I will have to be OK with the fact that my career path may never fit nicely into a category that can be filed away neatly. Maybe it will be someday, but certainly not at the moment. What I do know is I’m opening myself up to vulnerability and the unknown in order to see where my wild passions take me. It’s risky, it’s scary. But you know what? If it doesn’t work out, I have the rest of my life to call myself a graphic designer, to say I work at an agency, to be what many people think I Should be. But that’s not my path, and I don’t plan to turn back until that path becomes at Must.
What do you think of Elle’s article? Have you found yourself at the crossroads of Should and Must? I’m curious to hear your stories.