The Positive Habit Weekly Blog – 13th November, 2017 – Why We Shouldn’t Say Should
Hello, my fellow Positive Habit people,
I hope you have had a good week, it’s lovely to have you with me every Monday.
Could you try a simple exercise for me:
Lift the left corner of your mouth on your left and now your right…yippee I’ve done it, you are smiling and it is MONDAY!
This week I am focussing on the idea of why we shouldn’t use the word ‘should’ in any form. It can be hard to find a replacement for the word and you would be amazed at how often people use it. ‘Should’ is a modal verb along with could, would and may. It is used to express necessity while the other modal verbs are usually more connected with possibility. Today, I feel the necessity to highlight that if/when you hear yourself utter the word ‘should’ take this as a warning signal to be kinder to yourself.
Like many of us, as a child I was told to watch my language by well-intentioned adults and I’m not saying there is anything wrong with this; cursing and swearing have their place but are overused, often inappropriately. However, instead of worrying so much about our P’s & Q’s we should teach our kids to see the perils in having a critical voice in your mind that tells you what you should be, should have done and what you shouldn’t do.
Take a moment to reflect on your own inner critic if you feel you have one – even the most positive habiters of us will, I am sure, have one from time-to-time. Ask yourself, is ‘should‘ a word you use? How often and how regularly? Is it about yourself and/or others?
Use of the word ‘should’ generally reflects some form of judgement and pressure. Examples include:
‘I should really have my life together at this stage’
‘I should be married’
‘I should have a baby’
I should have another baby’
I should have more money
‘I should be able to buy a house’
‘I should have bought a bigger house’
‘I should be more sociable’
‘I should eat less’
‘I should drink less’
I should be kinder’
‘I should have said …
‘I shouldn’t have said….
‘I shouldn’t be so stupid’
‘I shouldn’t feel like this’
‘I should be happy’
The list, unfortunately, goes on and on and I feel I should get to the point. Many of my clients, when I first meet them, are big on should. This reflects an inner pressure to be something that they are not and illustrates a dissatisfaction with themselves, which is of course not a positive habit. Many people who use this word about themselves also use it about others, their husbands, wives, children, parents, friends, their boss, the local community, the government and again the list goes on. But where do all these shoulds lead to? Usually nowhere except more of the same negative behaviour. They generally don’t change a situation or improve a person but they do have the effect of eroding the confidence of the individual concerned.
‘Shoulds’ keep us stuck with no room for growth.
I used to feel I should do many things and frankly I never got any of them done. Now I know I should sometimes work less, spend more time with friends and family but now instead of saying I should I just DO it without the pressure. Last week I met friends for dinner, went to a gig with my husband and went to see my sister in Berlin at the weekend – there was not a should in sight!
Berlin is a city that defies the idea of should; it is full of people who seek an alternative life, that choose not to conform to what they feel they should be doing. This spirit of freedom is very much represented in the graffiti that covers every spare brick.
It can be hard to find another word to replace ‘should.’ One that can help free you of ‘shoulds’ is to the affirmative I am going to.
Certainty creates confidence and leaves no room for subconscious doubt.
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