May 2014

You really shouldn't use the word should.

The word should. It's really quite powerful. It can create disappointment in others and anger with ourselves. “Shoulds” reinforce the idea that it is wrong not to do a behavior. “Should nots” reinforce the idea that it is wrong to do a behavior. When we don't follow through on these rules, it can create a sense of guilt and shame.

Really, there are no shoulds. We have preferences. For example, I don't have to pay my electric bill. It's not a should. Yet, I prefer to have lights and a television and a way to power my computer. So, I prefer to pay my electric bill. I don’t have to do the dishes but I prefer not have ants running amuck in my kitchen. So, I prefer to do the dishes.

Try this: replace the phrase, "I should" with "I want to" or "I would prefer to.” See if it feels different.

You really should give it a try.