The wonderful late Louise Hay often spoke about how we should get rid of the word ‘Should’ in our vocabulary.
Because ‘should’ always indicates that you have done something wrong, or that you are about to do something wrong. And that’s just not very lovable, supportive or kind towards yourself. And it’s not very practical either! If you are constantly beating yourself up with all the things you ‘should’ be doing, then there is just no winning, is there? Because you won’t ever really fully get all the stuff done that you feel you ‘should’ do. If you do, you will just find something else you ‘should’ do.
For me, the worst one is always that I should be doing more. Which is suitably vague and therefore hard to define. ‘More’ of what?? Or, I should be doing better, is another one that can trap you in an endless spiral of negativity. When you catch yourself using should, try this: Replace the word should, with could.
“I could be doing more.”
This opens up for several possibilities, whereas the “I should do more” is limited and locked.
If you could do more, but aren’t, ask yourself “Why aren’t you?”
Now you might get answers like “I don’t want to” or “I am scared”.
These we can work with much better than the should’s!
If you don’t want to do it, then don’t! We have sooo many of these should’s from our parents, our friends, our society. There are so many norms that are deeply ingrained in us and we feel compelled to follow them and so we rarely stop to ask why we are doing it. When we finally do, we might realise that it’s not something we actually want for ourselves. So do yourself a favour and scratch it off your should list! It can be such a relief to do that! Set yourself free and let it go!
If however, you do want to do it, but feel scared then you can look at that with new eyes too. What are you scared of? Do you need some help, support, new skills?? These are practical things that you can get and do, so that you can start moving forward in the situation instead of being stuck in “I should“!
“I should” always indicates that you are not going to be good enough, that it isn’t going to work and that you won’t ever really get ‘there’. Do yourself a favour and question those should’s to see what they are really about. Otherwise you can be should’ing yourself to death!
Yesterday, I heard myself saying “I should be doing more” in terms of work (nah, I haven’t fully deleted it from my vocabulary yet, but I am much more aware of it than I was before!) – so I stopped and broke it down. What exactly did I mean by that? What exactly did “more” cover for me? Turned out that it was three very specific things. One was actually something that I felt I should do, but something that I didn’t want to do – so I decided not to! I did the other two and then gave myself a pat on the back and signed off for the day. This gave me the sense that I had done enough for that day, and I could fully enjoy the rest of the evening.
There is so much that we could be doing all the time. But, time and energy is limited, so make sure that the things you do are things that you actually want to do, and that you aren’t just doing it to please others or because others have told you to do it.
Check yourself for this week; is there something you are telling yourself that you should do?
Change it to; “I could do xyz” and then ask yourself why you haven’t done it yet.
Break it down into something specific that you can actually handle or, if it’s actually something that you don’t want to do – then let it go.
Give yourself an early Christmas present and let go of the should’s in your life! 😊💕
This exercise is from the powerful book ‘You can heal your life’ by Louise Hay. It’s magical and life-changing so handle with care 😏