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  • Sue Engstrom

Break Your Shoulds

A while back I took an online course moderated by Brene Brown and Glennon Doyle called The Wisdom of Story. This course changed my life. One of the most powerful learnings was about recognizing that there are rules that we live by. These rules can be spoken messages and expectations or just those “you must” rules that are part of your family, community or culture.

These rules are dangerous, especially for young girls and women.


Don’t be high-maintenance.
Do look perfect.
Don’t be needy.
Do attend to others’ needs.
Don’t be emotional.
Be grateful for what you have. Don’t want more than this.
Be small.
Be agreeable.
If something is wrong, it’s your fault.
Do not express disappointment.

The list goes on and on, for sure.


Rules fuel shame, keep us quiet and stop us from following our dreams. They keep us in meaningless struggle and conflict. In my work, I refer to these rules as our “shoulds” and I teach my clients how to break free and truly step into their authenticity.


Here are some tips:


  • Get honest about which “shoulds” you have taken on. Do you act a certain way in your job and/or in relationships because this is how you should be? Have you shape-shifted to fit another’s mold for you?

  • Take a look at the list of rules above - do any apply? What others can you add?

  • Make a list of the “shoulds” that no longer serve you. You’ll know because they don’t feel good.

  • Explore what breaking these “shoulds” will look like. What will you be doing differently?

  • Commit to You. Be brave and make the shifts that will move your “shoulds” to a thing of the past.


Not everybody likes when rules are broken. You might find the new road bumpy for a bit. Persevere. You

got this!


My three-month Unf*uck Your Life coaching program will take this process to a deeper level. I would love to be your guide!


With Intention,

Sue B

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