photographer: Rebe Paschal

Many people will ask what the problem is with the word "should". What's wrong with knowing what to do, what you should or shouldn't do? Doesn't this create a daily plan, a plan for achieving our goals?


According to psychoanalysts, it is this seemingly innocuous word that is extremely insidious, especially for people who are predisposed to anxiety or increased anxiety, and define it as the most neurotic word.


The tyranny of the word "must" starts from early childhood. The parents teach the child an endless list of things to do. And if the social environment (family, school, workplace) develops certain cultural "norms" and this is perfectly normal, since we do not exist outside of society, then an unhealthy social environment can also form unhealthy belief systems.

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Once we distinguish between useful social constructs, it remains to be able to recognize what is “necessary” that is hurting us. For example, a child who is taught that he or she must only have high grades in order to earn the respect and love of his or her parents is very likely to make the wrong connection between pleasing and loving. It is possible to accept it as a model of behavior that she would unknowingly apply later, for example with a partner.


Super-consumer societies today require us as adults to constantly evolve at the cost of everything! Of course, there is nothing wrong with cultivating yourself and developing yourself when the process is natural and desirable. When the world around you seems to be screaming that you have to study in order to be able to work, to have financial stability, to be independent, to be able to have children, and so on in this endless vicious circle of " then "the possibility of collapsing under the weight of so many requirements is very likely.


You do not need a PhD in Political Science to develop in the field of sports or the arts, do you? If the position you occupy brings you happiness and satisfaction, why do you need to look for a "better" one? If you want to tour the world, why should you give up because you are at an age where you are supposed to "have a family" or "build a career"?


For this reason, according to Karen Horney (1885 - 1952), a psychoanalyst of German descent, it is important to be able to distinguish when we act not according to self-acquired beliefs and desires, but according to those imputed to us by the toxic social environment. They play the role of unconscious messages coming from our subconscious.


These are a huge part of the daily thoughts that come to us: "I need to lose weight!", "I need to be happier!", "I need to have more friends!", "I need to buy a new car!"


And how many of them are our true hidden desires? To what extent are our aspirations a product of external influences? We can understand this if we ask ourselves if we are really happy when we reach a goal. How much satisfaction does it bring us? How did we feel in the process?


If the answer is rather negative, then we must pay serious attention to the idealized image we have created, ready to please all external "must" stimuli! This image can never be completed, it will never bring happiness, because it is an unreal product of an insecure personality and an overly demanding environment.


Such a social model is the bearer of most of the present-day mental states known as anxiety, panic attacks, "junk" and more. Conditions caused by the inability to distinguish between the ever-demanding environment and to pay attention to that part of us that, as a young child, feels neglected and voiceless.


However, when we free ourselves from the shackles of this image, when we let it go, we will make room for all those desires and aspirations that come from our own soul and heart. They are the real engine of development and growth. Then the neurotic "must" will be replaced by a natural desire for change. A change that brings pure joy, confidence and satisfaction.

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