Quilters often take to social media after they’ve discovered some sort of mistake in their work. There’s a confused flying goose headed south instead of north, a strong-willed Sunbonnet Sue facing a different direction from all the others.
And then comes the age-old quilter question: “Should I fix this?”
People respond predictably in one of three ways: yes, no, and it’s up to you.
Truly, this dilemma isn’t unique to quilters. It applies to everyone.
How many times are we involved in projects gone awry? Do I fix it? If I do, how long will it take? Does it matter? Is it worth it? Will anyone other than me ever notice this?
And always the infamous…SHOULD.
What about that word?
I realized a long time ago that “should” refers to things outside myself. “Should” hands my own free will over to someone else.
- I should go visit Angry Aunt Bertha (so my mom will stop nagging me).
- I should bring banana bread to the bake sale (because all the other moms are bringing something.)
- I should redo that renegade Sunbonnet Sue (because the quilt will be judged when I enter it in the county fair.)
When I tell myself I “should,” I take away my own power to make a decision, and what’s even worse, I give that power over to someone else.
When I hear myself say I “should,” I often know exactly what I want to do, but lack the courage of my convictions.
When I think I “should,” I’m choosing to engage in conflict with myself in order to avoid potential conflict with others.
But “should” isn’t written in stone. And getting rid of that language is another way that we can change our behavior and stretch our emotional muscles.
But what happens if we replace the “should I” with a “do I want to” instead?
Changing “should I visit Angry Aunt Bertha” into “do I want to visit Angry Aunt Bertha” may not magically turn the situation into unicorns, hearts, and flowers, but at least I’m directing my own life instead of “being directed by” other people.
Maybe I’ll decide that I don’t want to visit my aunt, but that I am willing to buy a card and write a note reflecting on a good time I shared with her when I was young, and when my mom asks, I can tell her how I did reach out.
Maybe I’ll tell the bake sale committee that I’m not available to bake something, but I would be willing to promote the sale to my friends at work.
Maybe I’ll decide that feisty girl in her sunbonnet looks just fine as she is, and I’ll do what a friend of mine did and title the quilt “She Goes Her Own Way.”
The point is…I’m doing what I really want to do.
I hope you’ll do what you want to do, too.