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Do you ever tell yourself "I SHOULD be happy?"

boundaries negative emotions negative feelings negative thoughts people-pleasing perfectionism Apr 13, 2024

We physicians are funny creatures.

We spend so much time studying humans; their bodies, their fundamental needs, their minds, their behaviors. And this happens as we are learning to deny our own needs, to pretend that we don’t have emotions or bodily functions that need attending too…

And after years of ignoring our own emotions, amongst other things, we often have this sense that we should be able to push ourselves to feel what we want to feel (or to not feel what we don’t want to feel).

Case in point: Have you ever told yourself the following?

I should be happy

I should be grateful for what I have

I shouldn’t feel angry/frustrated/resentful at my patients/kids/spouse.

I’ve talked plenty about the many ways that we tend to should on ourselves, but this is perhaps one of the more ridiculous beliefs we may carry. That we should be able to override our emotions, especially the emotions that flash up in an instant like anger, resentment, or frustration.

Our emotions are a result of the thoughts and beliefs running through our brains constantly, many below the level of consciousness. If my underlying stream of thoughts includes “I can’t believe they are asking me this,” “don’t they know how full my plate is?” “seriously, what now?” then why would I expect myself to feel anything besides overwhelm, resentment, etc.

The goal here is not to think thoughts that aren’t believable or true. But if I find myself thinking that I should be having different feelings, positive or negative, I’m probably struggling with boundaries, people-pleasing and/or perfectionism. And these habits have to be unlearned if I want to get to different thoughts and feelings.

Read that again. If I can’t practice boundaries, if I’m not willing to say no, if I’m always putting others first, or thinking that my work is never good enough, then I’m choosing to stay stuck. And no amount of shoulding on myself will make it otherwise.

Unlearning these habits are exactly what I help my clients to do. They are what I have learned to let go of myself (ok, I’m not done learning this, but it’s soooo much better than it was). Are YOU ready?

Hi There!

I'm Megan. I'm a Physician and a Life Coach and a Mom. I created this blog to help other Physicians and Physician-Moms learn more about why they feel exhausted, burned-out and overwhelmed, and how to start to make changes. I hope that you enjoy what you read, and that it helps you along your journey. And hey, if you want to talk about coaching with me, I'm here for that too! I offer a free 1:1 call to see if we are a good fit. Click the button below to register today.

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