Demand thinking is a twisted way of thinking. Demand thinking is full of Should, Must, and Ought To’s. It is when you have decided to have a view of how you/others/the world should be and must be in order for you to be okay. If things do not live up to your demand thinking than they became awful, disappointing, and unacceptable. This will make you feel the need to stand up and fight until things/people/yourself are the way you think they should be. It will lead to you trying to control those around you.
This is such a common form of twisted thinking. Look familiar? I have spent so much of my life choosing should-y thoughts. I’m here to tell you, it’s a should-y way of life.
My Versions of Demand Thinking
Toward Myself: When I wasn’t working and mental illness was unmanageable – I shouldn’t feel so panicky. This is abnormal. What’s wrong with me? I need to get better soon because this is not how it should be. I should really be the one providing for my family financially. This is unacceptable. Addiction – I shouldn’t act out on my addiction, I shouldn’t ever want to, I shouldn’t even have an addiction. It is unacceptable to be someone with an addiction. My progress should be faster. When my hands used to be shaky – My hands shouldn’t be shaky. I should really help Lindsay more. My toe shouldn’t be broken.
Professionally: I should be a dentist because of all the money and training I put into this. If I’m not a dentist it will make dental school and all of that time and money a waste. That procedure really should have gone differently.
Church: this is one of the places where I would “should” on myself constantly. I should be at church for 3 hours each week, home teach every month, have a calling and do it diligently, be more righteous, be more humble, be more patient. I shouldn’t be angry because scriptures say “contention is of the devil.” If i don’t do these things it means I’m not a good church member, I’m not a good person. There are many many more of these not included.
Looking at the past: I should have done this differently, things happening that way is unacceptable. That shouldn’t have happened to me. That person shouldn’t have done that. The world shouldn’t be this way.
These forms of thinking are not useful or helpful. These thoughts lead me to put myself down and berate myself in hopes of motivating myself, punishing myself thinking it will be helpful when it’s not. Should-y thinking leads to trying to control the world and others. They lead me to arguing with my past. Talk about a losing battle with continual frustration! Ironically, I’ve used demand thinking in an effort to get the results I want in life. In reality, should-y thinking drags me down and prevents me from getting the results I want in my life. It just makes things worse.
The antidote to demand thinking is practicing acceptance and claiming your power. Your power is in your ability to deliberately choose the way you want to think. And we can choose to hold thoughts in our brains that foster acceptance.
I have compiled a list of empowering thoughts that I review each morning. They come from me, from lots of practice. I want to continually rehearse them to offer my brain thoughts that create the feelings I want. Everything in our lives starts with the thinking we do in our God-given brains.
Some Amazing Thoughts to Think
- I can love and accept myself completely, 100%, and unconditionally.
- Just as I am right now, I am enough.
- I have always been enough and always will be enough.
- My family gets to choose their own thoughts and feelings and I get to choose mine.
- I can accept my past choices and behavior.
- I am enough when desire to act out (pattern) arises. I am enough when I want to avoid unpleasant feelings. I am enough at all times.
- Everything happens for you.
- It was meant to happen the way it did.
- You are exactly as you should be.
- The Universe doesn’t make mistakes.
- People are allowed to behave the way they want — we are allowed to react the way we want.
- Your past is perfect.
When you reduce the should-y thoughts in your life, you don’t feel as should-y. The feelings you create from empowering thoughts drive you to do the things you need/want to do to create the results you want in your life.
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Please share your experiences with should-thoughts. Make comments. Let’s get a discussion going.
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