There is a word that most of us use regularly. It's discouraging and creates a lack of self-acceptance when we say it to others and especially when we say it to ourselves. It is the culprit behind many limiting beliefs and implies that we are not enough, or that we are not doing enough. It’s disempowering and leads to feelings of frustration, guilt and regret.
The word is SHOULD.
We mostly use “should” in regard to what we “should or should not do or be” or what someone else “should or should not do or be”. Some refer to this as "shoulding" and it doesn’t feel good when we do it to others or to ourselves.
Even though we may intend to be helpful it's disrespectful to "should" on others and implies that they are incapable of making the best decision for themselves. There are other ways that we can offer our thoughts without "shoulding"on them. We can begin by first asking them if they would like to hear our advice. If they are open to receive it, rather than saying " you should..." we can use phrases like "would you consider..." or "how do you feel about..." to offer our suggestions.
When we "should" on ourselves it implies that we are not enough or not doing enough. It doesn't empower or encourage us, it simply creates feelings of doing and being less than we are. This one word is responsible for creating so many feelings of frustration, guilt and regret and is damaging to our relationship with ourselves and with others.
I am committed to stop harming others and myself by "shoulding". According to writer Hannah Braime, these three alternatives below are helpful ways that you and I can avoid "shoulding" on ourselves.
1. Focus on the benefits. Instead of saying you “should” be doing more of something, focus on the why you want to do more. For example, “I should exercise more” can become, “I enjoy the way I feel when I exercise.
2. Focus on how the activity fits with your values. Examine “shoulds” to determine if they are in alignment with your values. For example, “ I should spend more time with my family", becomes “My family is important to me and I want to spend more time with them.
3. Focus on accepting and exploring reality. Sometimes you, your feelings and your experiences are just what they are in the moment and it’s just about accepting that. For instance, if you tell yourself that you “shouldn’t” be angry when you are, then you are negating your real feelings. Personal growth happens when there is self- acceptance first and then an intentional effort to change.
If you are willing...let's do some "inner work" to uncover what limiting beliefs may be hiding behind our "shoulds". Let's look to see how we “should" on ourselves and to determine which of our “shoulds” can be re-phrased using one of the three techniques above and which ones must depart today! If we are unable to re-phrase a "should" to be beneficial to us, reflect our values, or support the reality that we desire.. then we can just let it go! It is simply a disempowering word that's getting in our way.
Begin by closing your eyes, take a deep breath and center yourself. Ask you inner guides to come forward and reveal all the ways that you "should on yourself". Open your eyes and write what you received. After you write your “shoulds” down, cross off those that do not serve you to be released today! Re-phrase the others into statements that are more in alignment with your desires and values.
When you are done, end by thanking your inner wisdom for the insights that you have been given and repeat this statement:
“I forgive myself for the “shoulds” that I have placed on myself and others. I am free, all resistance falls from me. I stand in my full power as a master.”