-To wish you were someone else is to waste the person you are.” -Sven Goran Eriksson
A recent article by Tiny Buddha caught my eye:
The article asks: How many times a day do you use the word “should” in reference to yourself or other people?
This got me thinking. I use it. I use it A LOT.
I should go to yoga today.
I shouldn’t eat that brownie, I worked out today.
I should go for a run, it’s nice outside.
I should be cleaning the apartment.
Even worse, I think it about other people. I’m especially guilty of this at work, as a dietitian.
He/she should be trying to eat better. He/she should exercise.
It goes on and on! Then I realized, how do I feel about myself and other people when I use “should”? Guilty. I feel guilty that I’m not going to yoga or for a run, I feel guilty that I’m surfing the internet rather than cleaning the apartment.
It’s used by everyone, every day as a motivator to keep us in check. The more I noticed myself telling me I “should” do something, the more I wasn’t doing it. When I thought or told other people that they “should” be doing something, I was making them feel pressured and guilty.
I like what Hannah says in her article:
“If we say to ourselves “I should really meditate more often,” the unspoken follow-up to that sentence is “…but I don’t.”
We are reinforcing to ourselves that we aren’t doing it, and putting a negative connotation to doing it. But we can change our thoughts!
Instead of “should”, we can say:
My body feels relaxed and at peace when I attend yoga class.
Re-fueling my body with clean, whole foods will help my body feel it’s best after exercising.
I always feel refreshed after a run, especially when it’s nice outside.
It’s important to me to have a clean apartment.
Now, when I have these thoughts, I feel more motivated to do the activity than if I had used “should”! By focusing on the benefits and our values, we can have more positive thoughts.
Do you find yourself using this harmful word frequently?