Do you “should" (on) yourself? If so, you’re definitely not alone. “Should” and its variations (e.g. “should have” and “shouldn’t have”) are commonly used among us.
Does “should” motivate or encourage you, or help keep you in check? Does it make you feel in control of whatever is happening around you? Does “should” help you express a myriad of feelings, including frustration, guilt, and regret?
“Should” can be so DISinpowering.
By definition, "should" is used to indicate “obligation, duty, or correctness, typically when criticizing someone’s actions”; e.g., “you should have been more careful”. “Should” also indicates “a desirable or expected state”, e.g. “by now women should have autonomy over their bodies”. “Should” is also used “to give or ask advice or suggestions”, e.g. “you should go to bed”.
Although sometimes appropriate, “shoulds” DISinpower for a few key reasons (note: this list is not exhaustive):
- “Should” creates distance between yourself and what IS, internally or externally, like not accepting reality. E.g. “I should be social” when you feel tired and eager to rest. “I should have made cupcakes for my son’s birthday party at school” when that’s not actually a priority for YOU; “I shouldn’t have lost my temper at my colleague” when you did (like, that’s what happened and it’s done). In other words, "shoulds" create separation between your internal experience (fatigue, parenting priorities, frustration) and what your mind thinks is (or was) the “right” thing to do. Can you see how “should” is motivated by a lack of self-acceptance?
- “Should” is judgmental. When you “should” yourself, you’re telling yourself that you’re not doing the right thing. You’re not doing enough, and whatever you do isn’t good enough. “Should” is a way of devaluing yourself.
- “Should” underscores the negative by implicitly reinforcing the idea that you’re NOT doing something you think you “should” be doing, e.g. “I should meditate today . . . but I’m not.” It’s hard to motivate to do something differently when you’re focused on what you’re not doing right.“Should” is a disINpowering place to start from.
So how could you shift from “shoulds”?
Because awareness leads to choice (which I’m all about), I invite you to practice both:
Set the intention of becoming increasingly aware of when you use “should”, starting with your engagement with yourself. Observe to yourself, without judgment, when “should” creeps into your inner landscape.
From there, consider whether “should” is the most appropriate word in that situation. “Should” you work out, or do you “want” to because it makes you feel good or accomplished or supports you to eat healthier or sleep better? “Should” you go to bed early, or do you want to because you’d like to show up energized the following day? Or perhaps you “need” to go to bed at a certain time because your body requires it?
See how making the choice and shift from “should” to “want” or “need” (or any other word!) supports you intellectually, emotionally and energetically to connect to your personal power to make conscious and INpoweredchoices in your life.
Your thoughts, expressed in words, are strong. Choose them all mindfully.
In power, and with love and warm wishes for a wonderful weekend,
P.S. Have you registered for the Women’s INpowerment Circle? If not, you totally "should"! 😉 What I mean is that the Women’s INpowerment Circle is a rich, engaging and powerful opportunity to emerge even more INpowered in your life. If you ’re mired in the heaviness of “should”, struggling with your expectations of what “should” be happening versus what IS happening, and you’re consistently judging yourself and the situation, there IS a totally different way to experience yourself (and life!). In the Circle, you’ll get clear on the main ways that you DISinpower yourself, learn exactly how you can shift into greater INpowerment in any aspect of your life; figure out tangible next steps to move forward; engage in a safe and sacred space with a community of like-hearted women; and receive a super powerful coaching experience that meets your needs. It’s happening on Thursday, July 13, and I’d love for you to join us!