Photo by sookie
Last week I read a beautiful essay by artist and my good friend, Elle Luna, describing what she calls The Crossroads of Should and Must. In it she shares the lessons she’s learned after a year of choosing Must instead of Should.
“Should is how others want us to show up in the world — how we’re supposed to think, what we ought to say, what we should or shouldn’t do. ”
“Must is who we are, what we believe, and what we do when we are alone with our truest, most authentic self.”
Elle’s experiment took her from a tech startup, to an empty white room, to Bali, and ultimately to her calling: painting. Such a journey inward is never easy, but as was clear from the resounding response to her piece, the conflict between Should and Must is something that we all struggle with.
(Over the past year Elle has turned her essay into a beautifully illustrated book about finding your true calling. The Crossroads of Should and Must: Find and Follow Your Passion is available Wednesday, April 8, 2015, at book stores everywhere.)
At their core, Should and Must represent competing motivations. Should is our responsibility to others and the world at large. Must is our responsibility to ourselves. Sometimes these overlap, but often they do not. That is when we need to make a choice.
As Elle so eloquently explains, in most of our lives choosing Should is the easiest, safest path. But as I thought more about this I realized that the opposite is true for food and health.
When we choose what to put in our bodies, Must is our default.
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