Don’t Should On Yourself or Others

One of the most, overused, overrated words in our English vocabulary is should.  “Shoulds” are freely given out in many scenarios: choices around diet, food, family, and other personal situations.  How many times have we heard the phrases: “You should, they should, he should, she should..” or worst of all “I should”  Why is this word so powerful and why should we take the power out of it, either by not using it or substituting for a different word such as “could”? Let’s start with a simple example around food: “I should eat a spinach salad” Sets us up for expectations You are committing yourself to a meal that you may not be fond of. Maybe you do like spinach, but maybe you would prefer to get your veggies in another way – such as sautéed with eggs, mixed in with lentil pasta, or blended in a smoothie. Implies judgment Don’t be so hard yourself. And on others. Adding this person “should” or I “should” to your vocabulary assigns a task that may or may not be appropriate for someone, but ultimately it’s their (or your) decision. Takes the joy out of an activity When has it ever been ‘fun’ to receive a should? When we have a benchmark for something that hasn’t happened yet, it can feel discouraging when we miss certain steps along the way. If you instead say: “I could eat a spinach salad”, suddenly your food choices become an option, a choice, an invitation to better health. It’s aspiring without expecting. By exchanging the simple word “should” with “could” in our vocabulary, opportunities will open...
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