Silencing "The Should": Tell Your Inner Critic To STFU

I just got back from a weekend in Muskoka.  Lymphoma Canada organized a beautiful weekend of yoga, cooking classes and spa treatments for a phenomenal group of women who committed to the cause of raising awareness and money for cancer research. I was lucky enough to be their yoga teacher for the experience.  It was a good weekend.

Scratch that - a great weekend.

I had the chance to teach women who were devoted to bettering their health and the health of others.  As if that wasn’t good enough, I stayed in a hotel in a room with a view that literally brought me to my knees. I walked into a space bigger than my condo, overlooking a stunning landscape and burst out laughing because it was just too beautiful to be real. (I tend to laugh during inappropriate moments - like weddings, funerals and “pinch me” moments)

I strolled by a calming lake accompanied by daffodils blooming in the cold while listening to water lapping against a dock. It was surreal, serene and healing. After months of feeling tired to the core of my being because of mono, it was just what I needed

Here is what I found most surprising: How much I loved just being in my room. There was a spot about three feet away from the fireplace (I had a fireplace in my room!!) I could have sat at for hours.

I laid out my yoga mat and woke up early to practice. I stretched myself out on the mat late into the night, watching the shadows dance on the ceiling, stretching, breathing, feeling the waves of heat wash over my toes that sometimes felt a bit too close to the grate.

This was my favorite time and place during the entire weekend. I could have easily stayed there the whole time.

And then of course, I felt guilty.

I felt guilty because I knew there was so much to do and so many things to see at this gorgeous resort. Yet all I wanted to do was lay in front of the fire.

Maybe you have this issue too. I call it “The Should”. The annoying asshole who lives in the back of your mind constantly telling you that you’re not doing enough. The nagging notion whispering you “should” do more, you “should” be out living life, moving, accomplishing, and DOING.

This weekend I wasn’t having it. I sat in front of that gorgeous fireplace and told “The Should” to STFU.  I knew I needed this restful time. My body and mind was craving it.

So I stopped. I stopped wasting time feeling guilty, turned on my favorite classical music and let my toes get a bit too warm.

I think “The Should” is potentially one of the most harmful words in the English language. It can steal so much joy from us. It berates us, tears us down, makes us feel inadequate and causes us to doubt. Yes, it can motivate and push us forward, but it can also destroy us out of sheer unrealistic expectations.

Learning to silence “The Should” has been a lifelong struggle for me.

Thankfully, the weekend was surrounded by strong women devoted to self care, accompanied by a picturesque landscape, a welcoming fireplace and a king size bed (a king size bed?! Who’s life is this??)  It was much easier to silence “The Should”.

Find what lights your fire. Find what warms you from the inside out, find what heals you and do it. Tell “The Should” to STFU and allow what you love to light you up.

Written By: Jelayna Da Silva
Jelayna is a well certified, passionate yoga teacher and writer living in downtown Toronto. Her love for yoga takes her across the GTA to teach at several studios and to multiple clients. With a background in Psychology and College Athletics she infuses her classes and writing with mental and physical awareness, not to mention a healthy sense of humor. Whether leading at a large outdoor events, in a classroom, or in the home of a client her philosophy for teaching is simple - teach with love, empathy, patience and humility. Yoga is a journey, not a destination.