woman pondering

Stop Should-ing Yourself

by: Lissa Rankin, M.D.

Created date

April 21, 2014

For many years, my soul was trying to guide me, but I wasn’t paying attention. Even when my soul tried to communicate with big glaring WARNING signs or GO HERE billboards, I disregarded the signs. Thinking back to the year 2000, I have to laugh when I think about how my former husband and I stood in line for three hours at the courthouse to get our marriage certificate. And finally, when we were at the very front of the line, belly up to the courthouse clerk, there was a bomb threat. A BOMB THREAT! I literally turned to my fiancé and said, “Is it a sign?”

Of course it was a sign … I’d already received other, more subtle signs that foretold the destructive patterns that later became impossible to ignore. But I overlooked those signs at the time, just like I ignored the flashing red bomb threat that forced us to evacuate the courthouse.

Why did I ignore such blatant soul guidance? Because I was attached to marrying this guy, so I wrote it off as “coincidence,” even though somewhere deep within me, I knew better.

 

How “Should” Interferes with Soul Guidance

Consider the times you’ve ignored your soul’s guidance. Chances are good that you did so because you thought you should.  

  • The wedding invites are already sent, so you should go through with the wedding.
  • You’ve already spent so many years training for the job your soul wants you to leave. The money is good. It’s a secure job in an insecure economy. You should stay.
  • Your soul is telling you that you don’t have to take care of the elderly relative who treats you like dirt, but another part of you thinks you should. 
  • You’re working yourself to death to pay for the fancy house and the private school, and your soul is telling you to simplify, downsize, and send the kids to public school. But you don’t think you should sacrifice their quality of life for yours. 
  • Your soul doesn’t want to go to church anymore, but you should.
  • Your soul doesn’t want to hang out with the friend you’ve known for twenty years anymore, but you should. 
  • Your soul doesn’t like the missionary position and wants to get down and dirty, but you should not let on that you fantasize the way you do.
  • Your soul wants to dance under the moonlight, but you should go to the gym.
  • Your soul wants to eat dark chocolate, but you should eat kale.

God forbid you actually follow the soul’s guidance. All hell might break loose. There could be anarchy.

 

Overriding the Soul’s Guidance

Because we’re so full of ideas and judgments about what we should and shouldn’t do, we tend to talk ourselves out of our soul’s guidance. We don’t trust that our soul knows what’s best, so we tend to write off soul guidance as mere coincidence or whimsy or even folly. To both: pay attention. Soul guidance may require radical acts of courage, and that can feel terrifying.

Where will my soul lead me? How uncomfortable will I have to get? How much uncertainty will I need to tolerate?

The soul doesn’t care about certainty. The soul cares about freedom.

 

When the Soul Has to Yell

Every time we override the soul’s guidance, the soul tends to get louder, not because you don’t have free will and not because the soul is punishing you, but because the soul is always trying to get through to you. The soul doesn’t necessarily speak the same language as you, so it may not just start rattling off soul guidance in your ear. Instead, it will use anything it can—dreams, emails, people who show up with messages for you, physical symptoms, gut instincts, bumper stickers, synchronicities that make you pay attention. The soul is always trying to guide you, but when you repetitively ignore it, it has to get crafty. Sometimes you wind up clobbered with the proverbial 2 x 4.

The soul’s guidance may start as a guiding dream or a persistent thought or a book or blog post that seems to speak directly to you. But if you ignore the soul’s guidance, the soul may guide you through painful interventions, like loss or illness. The soul is always yearning for you to WAKE UP and free yourself from all the shoulds.

It will use any vehicle at its disposal to help you face the TRUTH about who you are and what is aligned with your true self.

 

Are You Overriding Your Soul?

Because so many people suffer from what the shamans call “soul loss”, they lose touch with the soul’s guidance and wind up feeling lost, confused, disconnected, lonely, stressed and out of touch with the purpose and meaning in their lives. Reconnecting with the soul’s guidance is medicine for the soul.
 

*This article was originally published on lissarankin.com.

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About the author

Lissa Rankin, M.D.

Lissa Rankin, M.D. is a mind-body medicine physician, founder of the Whole Health Medicine Institute training program for physicians and other health care providers, and the New York Times bestselling author of Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof That You Can Heal Yourself. She is on a grass roots mission to put the "care" back in health care and to heal our broken health care system, one doctor and one patient at a time.

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