If you’re anything like me you spend your days talking. You talk to friends, colleagues, your kids, clients, Mum, husband, neighbour, coffee dude, Siri and the dog.
Words fly left right and centre without a second thought so we can get through the day.
But what if I told you there was one word that was so powerful, nasty and outright fatal to your mind health that it can vanquish any affirmation or positive intentions in a whisper?
Mirror Mirror on the wall, which is the most dangerous word of all?
Let’s take a look why:
“I really should’ve done the washing before when I had more energy.”
“I should go to the gym more often.”
“We should do coffee.”
“He should be more careful.”
“Should I apply for that job?”
“I should stop getting angry with her.”
Despite our motives, the language we speak can inadvertently make us feel bad, guilty, wrong and ashamed without even realising it.
The more we ‘should’ ourselves the more we diminish our power, keep ourselves in a blame game and feel bad about not achieving things. We think we are not enough because we ‘should’ be something else or ‘should’ have done something else.
The truth is we do what we want or need to do in any moment, but our head plays games to tell us that what we did, or didn’t do, was not right. This constant barrage of regret and self-loathing leaves us feeling small and as evil as the evil Stepmother in Sleeping Beauty.
The definition of should is to indicate obligation, duty, or correctness, typically when criticizing someone’s actions.
Even the definition includes the word criticise.
So how do you eradicate this pest from your vocab once and for all? I wont lie and tell you this is easy, but if you’re committed to using more powerful positive words and eliminating negative thoughts to change your life, here are my three recommendations to removing ‘should’ from everyday chit chat.
1. Recognise how you really feel
Instead of saying “I should exercise more” think about how exercise makes you feel after completing it and turn the sentence around to empower you such as, “I feel great after my Pilates class and will go more often.”
2. Does your heart want it?
Don’t feel obliged to catch up with a friend for coffee if you know you don’t have the time, or aren’t inclined to organise it. Instead think about what your heart truly wants and if you are happy to meet up, then say, “I hope we get time to meet for coffee soon.”
If you don’t know whether or not to apply for a new job ask “Is this job right for me?” Whether or not you should apply is irrelevant, but is it what your heart desires and the next best step for you?
3. Accept your emotions and process it.
When we use ‘should’ or ‘shouldn’t’ to try and convince ourselves that our emotions aren’t valid…stop! Telling yourself “I shouldn’t feel like this” is not helpful and most importantly it’s not honouring what is really happening to you. You can’t change the way you feel, it’s the most powerful truth you have.
Honour your truth and feelings in that moment and say to yourself, “I am willing to let that go.”
If you feel the need to dive deeper in to this one, grab your journal to identify the underlying emotion and why you are feeling this way?
Eliminating the word ‘should’ will take practice, but you will feel a stronger connection with yourself and empower your relationships with others.
Now, I’d love to hear of your experience. How do you feel when you use the word ‘should’ – frustrated, angry, stuck? Did you know the word holds this level of power?
Drop me a line in the comments below and let me know your experience.