Sarah Potter
Mortgage Agent
The Mortgage Advisors

Women are statistically more likely to be the primary caretaker of our children, spouses, and own parents. As a result of that, we often fall into the trap of taking care of others before we take care of ourselves. Psychologists call this “unmitigated communion,” the focus on and involvement with others to the exclusion of the self. Unmitigated communion is related to psychological distress and depressive symptoms, and it is a female gender-linked trait.

We focus so much on what we should do, and should be, that we can lose sight of our own wants and dreams. People who are should-motivated often become exhausted and resentful because rather than choosing what they want to do, they constantly think about what they think they have to do. The concept of should can be so pervasive it can be hard to recognize. Using “should” language is a way to fool ourselves and avoid doing the work of figuring out what we really want and how to fight for it.

It’s uncomfortable to acknowledge that our own fears are often to blame for our failings and missed opportunities. It is easier to place blame on your boss, company, family, or anyone and anything that gives you a sense of obligation or a “should.”

It is important to remember that choosing to listen to your heart and value what you personally need isn’t a selfish act at all. It’s self-preservation, and it’s something that we all need to practice more of. Rather than fall into the trap of should-based decision making, I encourage you to engage in conscious choice.

Next time you’re facing a decision, ask yourself these three questions:

  1. If I could fast forward a year, and see myself as a success at both options, which decision would I regret the most?
  2. Am I making this decision because it’s something I think I should do, or something that I want to do?
  3. If I were to take away all fear of judgment and sense of obligation, which option would I pick?

One option is always going to feel safer and more comfortable, and I’m not here to tell you that’s the wrong choice. I’m simply saying that if you are going to make a decision that has the possibility to change your life, be absolutely sure that you are considering your own opinion at least as much as you are considering the opinions of others.

Whatever decision you face, make the choice consciously. It will give you more peace of mind and emotional security in that choice.