Like leaves fall from a tree

December 5. Let go

What (or whom) did you let go of this year? Why? (Author: Alice Bradley)

I’ve been trying to let go of expectations and shoulds because it’s apparent with every day I live that they do. not. serve. me. They make me distracted and dotty, trying to live up to what i think should be happening. What I should be doing. Where I should live. What I should have achieved by now.

What my body should look like. Hoo boy, that’s a big one.

Letting go of the shoulds is a daily practice, a minute-by-minute task I try to remember to do; some days are easier than others, depending on the hormonal winds blowing through my veins. For example, this weekend I was writing fluently, seeing my family, floating around my flat feeling on top of my game. Today, however, I am ready to jump out the window and end it all. I am sick of my own miserable company and have been self-medicating with coffee and toasted tea cakes since I woke up. No writing done, feeling like I’ve let myself down, cowering as the shoulds gleefully beat me with a stick. Hormones and stress are a horrible mix.

I know there will never be a point when I’m so zenned out with everything and everyone I never have another worry; hormones will rage, deadlines will loom, nephews will grow, food will go bad in the fridge — it’s just life. And as much as I embrace my glorious imperfection, I’ll still have days like today, when i hate dislike myself intensely; and when they come round I just have to lean into them, try to let go of the shoulds, and make it through to bedtime.

That is enough for one day.

For #Reverb10

22 responses
  1. jennifer

    hope your day gets better… your blog is lovely – glad i found it. it’s now on my list of inspiration for my day.

  2. jane

    “should” the most vicious word in the dictionary… i am also in the midst of a premenstrual maelstrom so these words are precious, help me to see the way to the end of this bleak place… help me keep passing the open windows (if you are a John Irving fan) hope today is a better one…. with love from a fellow should vanquisher

  3. Kristina

    I look at it more like being thankful for what I have rather than making myself think I should have or do or want …… I find I have become very happy in life by simply doing that.

  4. bella

    loving on you extra today. xo

  5. fanny | live happy

    Oh Susannah, your words are so good and so true. I think that we ALL feel like this a lot more than we let on, so thanks to you for saying it out loud!

    I haven’t written on this prompt yet, but I’ve been thinking about it a lot, and I think I’ve let go of the same thing: the need to be perfect and get it all done.

  6. Cheri

    I know days like those seem bleak. But here is the only “should” that matters:

    “And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.” Max Ehrmann from The Desiderata

    {{{Big Hugs}}}

  7. Ann

    Susannah, I hope you are feeling a little better today. My letting go post yesterday was also about “shoulds”. Please know that your Unravelling class has helped me let go of some of those shoulds. Thank you so much for the oh so gentle way you have helped me become a better friend to myself.

    And as for the hormones, I have come up with a vitamin regimen that has made a huge difference for me. I did a lot of research and then ran it by my husband, who is a family practice doctor, and by my gynecologist. I feel so much better! Email me if you want the list.

  8. Marianne

    Today my mind is convinced that I ‘should’ give up. That I’ve got nothing worth offering that someone else has already said, or done, better than I ever could. You are not alone, my beautiful friend. We can only hold ourselves and each other in arms of deep kindness on days like today. With love. xx

  9. Storm

    i hate those days. In fact, i presume one of them is going to be today because i have to go into Tafe (UNI) when all i feel like doing is never getting out of bed. Just hope the next day will be better, you can do it.

  10. fiona

    Sending love here :)

  11. Stephey Baker: Marked by The Muse

    ah. the “shoulds” – unfortunately I know what it’s like to be bullied by The Shoulds. I would never assume to know how you feel but can share how it yields me feeling – which is small. It painful to have such a bright freak’n beacon inside forced by the Shoulds into being dull and small. You know how much energy it takes to snuff a star – mama! Everything, all me presence and will which usually translates into being exhausted and not having the energy to engage creativity let alone warm fuzzy feelings. During moments like these it’s all I can do to eat toasted tea cakes and coffee becomes a necessity to gather what energy is left from all the dimming of light. I share this as a way to illustrate empathy – I get it – battling with The Shoulds is shitty. You know why? Cuz your “SHOULDING ALL OVER YOURSELF” yuck.

    What helps me is to take a time out, breathe, listen to what’s up inside. What is needing my presence? What is hurting? Angry? If I can hold space for those hurting places of disappointment, the shoulds go poof – vanish. By embracing what I am I organically release defending what I am not – that inner struggle goes poof. Even if what I am in the moment is pissed, hurt whatever, its what is and will pass, especially if I accept it in that moment. It’s the denying what is that yields me turmoil. I’ve found that sometimes my inner tantrums are simply asking for a nap, coffee and some toasted tea cakes and once those needs are met I can enter creativity again – minus the inner fuss.

    Thanks for sharing this post and reminding me that a time out is what I need today. Be well!

  12. Sara

    Hey Susannah!! I totally feel you on this post …. we all have our ups and downs, but just like the saying from a little children’s movie called “Peter Pan” (hehe), always move towards your happy thoughts whenever you’re feeling down. They really do make a world of difference!!

  13. Michelle

    1. thanks for introducing me to reverb – I am playing along too!

    2. I am right here with you on all of it – the body image – the ups the downs. We all have the blues from time to time – you know what you need – some bobblehead love! My nieces always cheer me up!

    p.s. I used to be at

  14. wholly jeanne

    should is on my 4-letter word list. i like your moxie, sugar. “make it through to bedtime” – that slays me. (mostly to know that you have days like that, too.) one of these days, i’m gonna’ make it over here in time to sign up for one of your unravelling classes. signed, the #reverb10 fairy godmother herself.

  15. kristen

    i stand in solidarity with you on this whole post. xo

  16. Aine Teahan

    Hey there,

    I would love that list of vitamins too if you wouldn’t mind!

    Thanks a mill,


  17. Jude

    Should is one of the hardest words in the English language! You’re a continuing inspiration to just let go & let go.

  18. Ashley

    Letting go of the ‘shoulds’ is a process that I think everyone in every place in every time is working through, all of us together, not alone. *hugs*

  19. Jan Van Stralen

    I totally get the ‘hormonal’ thing. It can get so strong that no amount of choosing the right affirmations can get it switched around…then bed does seem to be a good place. The consolation prize may be that the only thing to do is to lean into our body’s wisdom for us to slow down, rest and trust while our spirit goes on working on our behalf. Thanks for your raw honesty Susannah!

  20. Hannah Marcotti

    Lean into it is such a beautiful visual of exactly that moment when you want to run, but you put aside resistance and lean in.

    That was beautiful and makes us all feel so connected to the sameness that those feelings bring.

    Just chugged a green smoothie because I feel close to needing to lean.

  21. Colette

    I’m writing again – finally thanks to #reverb10. Glad you are too.

  22. Kristal

    Love the part about leaning into it. Beautiful writing. And you are so right…sometimes, we just need to go to bed & start fresh the next day. :)

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