If there was one word I could ban from the English language, it would be the word “should”.
“Why? What’s wrong with should?” I hear you ask.
Well, “should” is a shaming word. When we use it, we are saying we are wrong, that we are at fault. We are criticising and blaming ourselves for doing, or not doing the thing we are talking about. We make ourselves “bad”, or “less than enough”. By doing so, we commit to keeping ourselves stuck in the shame-pool, in the space of “not good enough”. We hand over our power, our energy, our sense of responsibility.
More often than not, when we get clear on our “shoulds”, we see they are things that we have been told by other people to take on. Most of the time, they aren’t even things that we care about, and yet we are expending a huge amount of energy shaming ourselves around that particular thing, or trying to force something that’s just not important to us.
How often have you said any of the following;
“I should exercise more”
“I should eat better”
“I should spend more time with my family”
“I should have more savings by now”
“I should have had children by now”
“I should go to bed earlier”
“I should care more/care less”
“I should do that thing, or this thing”
….and so on and so on…
Go through this list, and say the ones out loud that apply to you. How does that make you feel? Pretty yucky, right?
So what do we do instead?
We simply replace it with a better word. A word that gives us an option. A word that gives us the power to choose if it’s something that’s actually important to us, and whether or not we want to do it.
Take out a piece of paper, and at the top write “I Should” and then finish this sentence as many different ways as you can (aim for at least 5)
Once completed, look back over your list and for each point ask yourself “Why? Why should I do that? Is this something that is actually important to me?”
For all the ones that aren’t, you can just go ahead and cross them straight off your list and forget about them. Yay!
Then, for all your remaining ones, re-write your list, replacing the word “should” with the word “could”. Read these out loud, one by one. Notice how that feels within you. Notice how it gives you back your power; it gives you a choice. Notice how it opens you up. Feel the freedom that comes from that choice, and go and do whatever it is that makes you lights you up.
Every morning, look in the mirror and repeat after me; “I will not should on myself today” and don’t. Easy.