Can You Remove the Word “Should” From Your Vocabulary?


How Different Would Your Life Be If You Did?

What does “should” mean?

Used to indicate obligation, duty, or correctness, typically when criticizing someone’s actions: “he should have been careful”.
Indicating a desirable or expected state: “by now students should be able to read”
Synonymsshall – must – ought
As the definition above states, I believe that the intention within the word “should” when used to describe someone else’s actions, is a criticism. Is it necessary to criticize? Can we give our opinion without criticizing someone or putting them down. To me, if someone tells me that I should do something or be a certain way, it implies that there’s something wrong with what I am doing or something wrong with me. How often do couples push each other’s buttons by just saying that word to each other?

I started to evaluate and observe how many times in a day I used the word “should” or told it to myself inside my mind, and it was quite shocking. I went back to see if there were any other way I could have said the same thing without using the word “should”.

For example:

  1. I should write because if I don’t, I will forget my thoughts, vs. I choose to write in this moment because, if I don’t, I will forget my thoughts.

  2. I should be taking a nap because if I don’t, I will not have enough energy to get through the rest of my day, vs. I will nap in order to have more energy for later.

  3. He should be nicer to his sister, vs. it would be nice or I would like it if he was nicer to his sister.

  4. She should lose weight as she looks unhealthy, vs. her health would benefit if she lost weight.

  5. I should eat kale everyday to make sure I am getting the proper nutrients, vs. I choose to eat kale because I want to nourish myself with healthy foods.

  6. I should be cooking right now instead of writing as I’m running out of time before having to pick up my daughter from gymnastics, vs. I’m giving myself 10 more minutes to write and then I will start dinner.

Think about all the times someone said to you something with the word “should” in the sentence or request. How did it make you feel? When I hear the word “should” or tell it to myself, there’s a heaviness about it. There’s an obligation and often guilt attached to it. I can’t think of any examples where I said I should do or not do something and guilt wasn’t right by its side. Do we want to walk around with all that weight? Talk about losing weight, I bet you those who have a hard time losing physical weight are also walking around with the emotional weight that keeps them stuck physically. Lose the “shoulds” and you’ll probably drop a few pounds.

Although some of you may not believe that everything is energy, words have energy behind them. Anyone who has been on a spiritual or self help path knows that it’s important and self serving to use positive affirmations and change or get rid of the internal dialogue that is demeaning to ourselves. However, I know that not all of us have been able to stop that voice in our heads that’s always telling us who we ought to be and what we should be doing or not doing. If you want to know more about how our words energetically affect everything around us, read The Hidden Messages in Water by Masaru Emoto.

In Untethered Soul, by Michael Singer, there is a chapter on the Inner Roomate. He says, “Make believe that your roommate, the psyche, has a body of its own. You do this by taking the entire personality that you hear talking to you inside and imagine it as a person talking to you on the outside. Just imagine that another person is now saying everything that your inner voice would say. Now spend a day with that person.”

I don’t know about you, but I would be finding a new roomate very fast! It’s a great exercise to do to become aware of that internal dialogue and how self defeating it probably is. Try it! As you do, notice the words should, ought, and must. If those words feel heavy to you, then rephrase it and perhaps make a different choice that is more aligned with your true desires.

Before my MS diagnosis, I didn’t do as much self care as I “should” have……oops, let me rephrase that…..I didn’t do as much self care as I truly needed and when I did do it, there was usually guilt or feelings of selfishness attached to it. So, guess what, my body developed MS and I had to re-evaluate many things in my life. One of them was how often I use the word “should”!

Don’t wait until your body gives you a big wake up call to do what’s best for you. Becoming aware of the “shoulds” will lighten up your load by a lot!!!! There are many other things we can do to change the way we think and speak, but I just wanted to give you a simple exercise that could truly change the course of your life and the decisions you make.

This applies to everything. How often I hear my clients tell me that they “shouldn’t” feel that way……..angry, sad, depressed, etc. Really? Who says? Oh yeah, that is the inner roomate talking. Feelings are feelings and no “shoulds” need to be attached to them. You feel how you feel and that’s it. You may not like how you feel all the time and there are things you can do about that, however, to deny the feeling that you have is denying yourself of being real and loving yourself unconditionally.

I could go on and on as I often do, but I won’t. I am simply inviting you this week to observe how much the word “should” directs your life. Would love to hear some feedback once you have done the exercise.

Until next time…..

You SHOULD really do this exercise………not. 🙂 If you would like, I invite you to do the exercise to bring new awareness to your inner and outer dialogue.

P.S. I “should” have had someone review this blog to make sure it is grammatically correct, however, I choose to not “should” myself and let it be the way it is!!! 🙂

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