Wellness Coaching: “Supposed to Be” vs. “Can Be”

Ever feel like you’ve maxed out your life potential? Like you’ve accomplished the major things you’re supposed to have done by now- you’ve gotten a good job, a home, maybe married, children?

Ever feel as though you haven’t even met your life potential? Like you’ve accomplished little or none of what you’re supposed to do by this stage of your life?

Perhaps you’ve had some tough breaks in life, experienced circumstances beyond your control, limited opportunities, made some poor decisions, or just had a lack of direction and guidance?

These feelings share a common thread- discontent. The first scenario illustrates discontent by means of attainment- seemingly achieving all that is required or desired. The second scenario illustrates discontent by means of forfeiture- being unable to achieve due to loss or sacrifice.

First, let me ask you this. Who’s “supposed to” are you attempting to satisfy? Your own or someone else’s? Neither is good, nor fair.

Did someone actually sit you down and tell you that you needed to have a certain kind of job, a home, be married and have children by a certain age? Did those words come from the mouth of someone you revere?

Conversely, did some revered individual tell you if you didn’t make a certain amount of money, have your own address, or be wed and procreate by the time you read this you will not have accomplished much in life?

In both cases, I doubt it. The greater likelihood is you’ve really formulated those notions on your own- based on what you’ve seen and heard in your immediate environment (family, friends, people around you, mass media), and your own desires in life. Chances are, you’ve created what’s “supposed to be” in your mind from an extrapolation of what’s been modeled for you, and are now judging yourself on your ability or inability to achieve it.

My point to this is that it’s unfair to hold yourself to an ideal. A conception is a mental image or idea, and is subjective; influenced by feelings and opinions as opposed to fact, and exists only in the mind of an individual.

If your going to hold yourself to anything, hold to principle. Principle is belief, and influenced by fact; as opposed to feelings and opinions. Belief exists outside the mind- are shared by many- and is seen in the form of actions that discern between right and wrong.

Forget what you think your “supposed to be” doing. The phrase, “supposed to be” generally implies that it’s not presently happening. If you are chasing what’s supposed to be, you are effectively chasing that which does not exist. What a colossal waste of time.

Instead of aspiring to could, would, or should be, start focusing on what you can be. Identify what makes your heart sing, and find a way to spend as much time doing that as possible.

-O. Salim Thornton, CWC, TCI

Thank you for reading. As much as I love sharing, I am equally passionate about the exchange of ideas. Without the exchange of ideas, there can be no higher learning. Scroll down to “The Floor Is Yours” area and let me know what you think about what you’ve read.


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