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Eliminate This Word From Your Self Talk Today!

Updated on July 1, 2022
Becca Linn profile image

My greatest passion is empowering others to improve their quality of life and achieve their goals by choosing healthy thoughts and habits.


The Power of a Word

Our world is a world of words. Whether, you are talking, reading, writing, listening to the radio, watching TV, or surfing the web, you are surrounded by words, and these words are powerful.

They have the power to uplift and inspire creativity, beauty, and love. They also have the power to degrade, anger, shame and make people doubt their true worth.

You probably prefer for people to use kind, uplifting and inspiring words when they talk to you or about you, but do you always use those kinds of words when you think or talk about yourself?

Most people are taught from a young age that they should use kind words, and it doesn't take very long to figure out what most of the "bad" words are.

The word I'm focusing on today probably isn't a word that you would have thought of as a bad word in the past, but as I've worked on eliminating it from my personal self talk, I've discovered that it was making me feel bad a lot of the time.

Great song about the power of words!

The Word "Should" Is Not Benefiting You As Much As You Think It Is


There you have it! The innocent sounding word that many people use to beat themselves up over and over again is "should." You might think I'm crazy, but hear me out for just a minute. How would you feel if someone said the following statements to you?

  • You should lose weight.
  • You should wake up earlier.
  • You should really clean your house.
  • You should not be watching so much TV.
  • You should exercise more.
  • You should not be eating that extra dessert.
  • You should be more social.
  • You should study more.

How do all of those statements make you feel? Would you really want to spend much time hanging out with someone who talked to you like that?

I don't know about you, but if someone was saying those kinds of things to me all the time, I'd probably be a big mess of feeling ashamed, feeling sad, and feeling just plain angry that they were treating me that way.

Now we're going to look at another set of statements and see how they make you feel. At this point, don't worry about whether they sound familiar or not. Just focus on the feelings that they induce.

  • I should lose weight.
  • I should wake up earlier.
  • I should really clean my house.
  • I should not be watching so much TV.
  • I should exercise more.
  • I should not be eating that extra dessert.
  • I should be more social.
  • I should study more.

Do you feel really awesome and super motivated after reading those statements?

My guess is that those words made you feel a bit weighed down. They might make you feel like you're not good enough. Maybe they make you feel like the world has a long list of expectations for you, that you could never live up to.

Many people think if they didn't feel like they "should" do things, they'd never be motivated enough to get anything done, but this is simply not the truth.

With a simple change of wording, you can joyfully and excitedly accomplish all the things that you've been telling yourself you should do, without the burden of feeling like you're not toeing the line.

You also might discover that some of the things you think you should do aren't actually priorities and end up having time to do things that matter more to you.

This video is under 2 minutes, but it will totally change your perspective. Check it out!

The Empowering Words to Use Instead of "Should"

If you're like a lot of people, you're wondering how you're ever going to be motivated to do anything if you don't tell yourself that you should get it done. No worries! It turns out there are other ways we can talk to ourselves that motivate us without making us feel bad.

Read the following statements and see how they make you feel:

To me, these statements have a totally different feeling than the should statements. Instead of making me feel like I'm not good enough how I am, they empower me to make choices about what I really want in my life.

My life is about my priorities, and where I want to go down the road. I make my own choices about which priorities will fall in and out of my life. It's completely up to me, and there's no "should" telling me what to do. That's empowering!

My Personal Experience With Shoulds

It's been less than a week since I was introduced to this concept, and it's totally changed how I feel.

Less than a week ago I was shoulding on myself all the time without even realizing it.

I had a long list of things that I thought I should do, and although I was reminding myself of them often, it didn't seem like the list was getting any shorter.

Then my friend recommended that I write down a list of all my shoulds to get them out of my system. I was quite surprised to discover that this activity was a tearjerker for me.

It wasn't until I started writing down my list of shoulds (and it was a long one), that I realized I was using the word should to make myself feel like a failure in a lot of ways all the time.

Initially, it was painful facing this list of shoulds, but as the list got longer, I realized that it was absolutely ridiculous and almost comical that I had so many crazy expectations for myself.

Literally, one of my shoulds was, "I should be perfect," and I wasn't thinking about the eternal scheme of things when I thought that either. I literally was telling myself that "I should be perfect right now."

Talk about unrealistic expectations to have for myself on a regular basis.

I had contradicting shoulds like, "I should prove myself to others," and " I shouldn't worry about proving myself to others." As you can see, these shoulds were confusing to say the least.

Really friends, if you're anything like me, when you dig deep, you're going to discover that these shoulds have not been doing you a favor.

The instant that my friend mentioned replacing the phrase "I should" with "If I really wanted to, I could," a huge burden was lifted from me.

I felt like there was actually a physical change that took place within me, and it felt awesome!

I would have been thoroughly satisfied with this experiment, even if that had been the end of it, but it got better.

With great pleasure, I tore up the list I had written and disposed of it as my life coach friend instructed me to do, I went about the rest of my day as normal, and went to bed.

When I woke up in the morning, I felt even better than I had the day before!

I can't even explain how amazing it feels to wake up without having a list of things you should get done hanging over you!

I was able to focus on the things that I really wanted to get done, and I was actually accomplishing more than I had been before.

A lot of the things I've been accomplishing were on the list of things I should do before, but now that I'm making a conscious choice to make what I want to out of my life instead of feeling obligated to do things, I'm a lot more motivated to get things done.

Every day is an exciting new day to accomplish my dreams and see the things I want in life come to fruition instead of it being a day where I feel overwhelmed with a list of things to do that may or may not actually matter.

Eliminating the word should from my self talk has brought more joy and passion to my daily activities and leaves me feeling much better about myself from the time I wake up until the time I go to bed.

This girl does not beat her self up over ridiculous shoulds any more!

I highly recommend that you give this experiment a try!

© 2016 Rebecca Young


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