By Marlena and Moose
Midway through January, any New Year’s resolutions you made are more than two weeks old by now. How’s that going for you?
Has that ceremonially consumed Final Cinnabon of 2008 and Forever More turned out to be the Next to Final Cinnabon, or the Next to Next to Final Cinnabon? Is your new health club membership still somewhere in the stack of unopened mail? Is that pile of trendy books in the corner, still unread, calling out, “We’re still here, dummy!”
Well, there’s someone in your corner who will hasten to tell you you’re not a dummy if you’ve simply failed to meet external obligations you’ve placed on yourself at the behest of the world you live in. He’ll demonstrate to you that you’re besieged by “Shoulds” — the things we think we should do, the beliefs we think we should hold, the self image we think we should cultivate in order to impress the people we think we should impress.
That someone who’s here for you is none other than our very own Soap Shrink, Damon L. Jacobs, author of the immensely helpful book, Absolutely Shouldless: The Secret to Living the Stress-Free Life You Deserve, published by Morgan James Publishing.
Damon has become a mainstay on this site since joining Team Marlena last year. As regular readers know, Damon is a real therapist who is eternally fascinated by the machinations of human behavior. In his analyses of soap characters, he’s deconstructed the drama-filled life patterns of the denizens of soap opera’s fabled worlds without end.
In Shouldless, he turns his insights to real lives — like yours and ours. Damon describes the oppressive shoulds as those expectations placed upon us all the way back to childhood — by our parents, siblings, neighbors, teachers, classmates. And, in a larger sense, by a consumerist society. These shoulds are internalized and form the foundation of our definition of ourselves and our notions of what constitutes proper thinking, feeling and behaving for us. Damon demonstrates how damaging many of these shoulds can be. And he offers a step by step approach to identifying them, understanding them and holding them at bay, if not banishing them altogether. What Damon teaches is more than a system of tinkering with bad habits. Rather, he proposes a whole new attitude toward living.
In chapters titled “Real People Versus Their Shoulds,” Damon documents should-fighting from his own practice — stories like those of Lenore, who overcame the shame of not being thin enough; Roger, who is no longer bedeviled by road rage, and Mark, who has shed doubts of his manhood.
Since it first appeared in November, Absolutely Shouldless: The Secret to Living the Stress-Free Life You Deserve has garnered a pile of enthusiastic reviews, foremost among them kudos from Dr. Debbie Joffe Ellis, widow of pioneering psychologist Dr. Albert Ellis. Check these out at Shouldless. The book is available on Amazon.com and through Damon’s website. This weekend, Damon will appear on a podcast on Feast of Fools . Consult that site for times.
And watch this site for more from the Soap Shrink.