Stop “shoulding” yourself! – Mark MacLeod

November 24, 2020 - Mark MacLeod

Stop “shoulding” yourself!

How often do you find yourself saying the word “should”? I should have done this. I should have done that. I should do more. The list of “shoulds” is endless.

Who says you should? What is the source of that voice in your head? Who has the authority and credibility to say that what you are currently doing is not good enough?

‘Should’ implies some sort of obligation or lacking. It is, by definition, external to you. It is either explicitly external, as in someone telling you that you should be doing something. Or, it is implicitly external. You feel you should because of some implied external expectation.

There is nothing positive in this. No one knows your exact context or reality. Suggestions or commands about what you should or should not be doing are all just input. Only you can decide what is the best thing to be doing in any given moment.

I have begun pointing out to my clients how often they use the word ‘should’. Ironically, this is not to tell them that they should not be using that word. It’s just to create awareness.

If you find yourself using that word, you have an opportunity to dig deeper and ask yourself where this obligation is coming from. Chances are very good, that this ‘should’ is an opinion. Not a fact. It may not even be an opinion. It is likely just a fabrication. You think that someone believes you should be doing something.

Free yourself from this vicious cycle of never-ending obligation and deficiency. You are the best person to decide what you do or do not work on.

Questions to consider

How often do I find myself saying “should”?

How does this word make me feel?

Where does this should come from? Is it absolutely true or am I assuming it?

What else could be true?

What else could I be telling myself?

Photo by Yasin Yusuf on Unsplash

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