Should. Appears to be an innocent enough word. How many times a day do you use this word?
On the surface it means recommendation, advisability, obligation, expectation. But it also has an implicit definition: the “should” comes from someone else’s point of view, not yours. How many times have you done something based on what other people expect?
As in, “You should clean the house.” “You should dress in brighter colors.” “You should bake cookies, not buy them.” “You should lose weight.” Or the reverse. “You shouldn’t try for that more advanced job.” “You shouldn’t expect to be happy in your life.” “You shouldn’t take risks because of <fill in the blank>.”
Should. It’s a powerful, judgmental voice. It implies that you don’t have your own answers. How have you been talking to yourself lately?
How about making a shift? Making choices based on your values and needs, not those of others.
When you feeling a should coming on, see if one of the following phrases resonates with you. Then use that section to help you discover the real motivation behind the should. Make a pledge to let go. With practice you can replace the other voices and contrary agendas around you with your own values-based choices.
I feel a should or should not coming on…
- Whose voice is really telling me I this? Often we have unexamined values that we swallowed whole from our parents, schools, or other authority figures. Where is your should/should not really coming from? Is it still serving you?
- Am I going to do this because it’s what I’ve done in the past? Often we allow old, limiting beliefs to continue to influence our choices. Or, we adhere to old, outdated rules that we no longer question. How badly do you want to change?
- Won’t <fill in the name> think I will be letting them down? Is this just a disguise for trying to please someone? Are you trying to take care of something that really belongs to someone else? Are you being manipulated?
- What would people think, if I do/don’t…? This is really a question based on what you fear. So, what’s your fear factor? Rejection? Loss of a relationship? Realizing your own power? Growth is about learning and unlearning. It’s about shedding a past that no longer serves us. It’s about reclaiming parts of ourselves that may have been cast off. The payoff: watching your own, true, inner voice grow louder. Feeling your personal power blossom. Overcoming your fear of change, which will lead to a more satisfying and fulfilling life. Pretty cool benefit, no?
Now It’s Your Turn
This week monitor your self-talk and notice where you are saying or thinking “should”. Whose voice are you channeling? Why is it present? If this doesn’t mirror your true, inner voice, how will you dismiss its intrusion?