Most of us have a vernacular habit of saying or thinking “I should….” , what follows is any array or combination of expectations of our values, beliefs, goals, needs, etc. and yet it can be one of the most damaging behaviors in which we engage.
Think about it….
Mentally list 3 things that you ‘should’ accomplish today:
- I ‘should’ clean the house
- I ‘should’ work out / exercise
- I ‘should’ eat more healthy
Now think about how you feel at the end of the day when you realize that only one of those items from your list was actually achieved. Do you feel frustrated; feel a sense of failure, of disappointment? Are any of those feelings encouraging or productive? Do you stay motivated to make lists? Are you mentally beating yourself up?
Using the word ‘should’ emphasizes an expectation that may not necessarily be our own. It may have originated from our culture (I should be thin and pretty at all times); from our families (I should do my best every time); or from our social groups (I should go to that event). Often – the ‘should’s ‘ in our mind are NOT of our own design and are so ingrained that we fail to question the validity or realistic-ness of the expectation as it applies to the moment of our thought. ‘Should’ has an underlying connotation that lacks choice. Consequently, we set ourselves up – over and over again – for failure! Ironically that is of the ‘should’s’ we keep in the front of our mind “I should not FAIL” and yet, by the very nature of the ‘should’ – we DO!
Over time, the collective impact of constant failure to meet all the ‘should’s’ in our life is emotionally unhealthy and may have a negative impact on the quality of one’s sense of well-being.
Think about this…
CHANGE THE WORD ‘SHOULD’ WITH THE WORD ‘CAN’!! All of a sudden, the impact of the list is very different:
- I CAN clean the house
- I CAN work out / exercise
- I CAN eat more healthy
With the very simple change of one short word, the entire sensation of the list is changed. Now, each option represents a CHOICE instead of an expectation. There is no set-up for failure. There is an implied sense of empowerment; of potential; and of hope!
Through this process, the responsibility (the power) is in your hands. Since you know you ‘CAN’ clean the house – whether or not you do, is your option. You are no longer a sub-conscious victim of someone else’s expectation. The difference in how your brain processes that information almost instantaneously changes the emotions involved. The disappointment, frustration, and sense of failure no longer has a platform on which to foster and grow.
Try it for a week and pay particular attention to how you feel at the end of a day, at the end of the week – let me know!