One of the most toxic words you can ever use is the word “should; it causes most of you to feel less than you are.
Because “should” implies an expectation if not met means that all is lost, you can’t be forgiven, your children don’t love you, you are a bad person, something has gone wrong……
These thoughts cause you to feel guilty or angry or less-than-you-are or belittled or demeaned or insulted.
They make you feel very uncomfortable.
“Should” is the anthesis of want or choice.
“Should” infringes on one’s agency; when you interfere with agency, you’re choosing to set yourself or someone up for feeling guilt, maybe intense enough to feel shame.
You use the word “should” when you are blaming others or yourself for doing wrong.
When I was going through a very difficult time in my life, a sweet friend of mine, meaning well said, “You should come back to group quilt. You always loved those meetings.” My thought was, “I should???How do you know what’s going to make me feel better? The last thing I want to do is go here about quilting techiques, plus, all the nonsense chit-chat that was intermingles in the agenda”.
The thought you ”should” generally creates a feeling of discomfort because a judgement thought is expressed every time the word should is used.
If she had said, “would you consider coming back to quit group. Everyone misses you”. I would have probably mulled it around in my mind and made the same decision but it would come from thoughts of peace not from guilt.
If I had thought, “I ‘should’ go”, I could have been setting myself up for a miserable evening. When and if I wanted to go to the quilt meeting, it needed to be from a place of peace which could come from the thought,
“I want to go to the quilt meeting; I’ll give it a try.”
Examples of toxic SHOULD statements…
They should call me more often.
They should be more independent.
They should allow me to help them.
They should let me see my grandkids more often.
They should listen to me.
They should get a better job.
I should not want them to call me more.
I should be more understanding of why they left the church.
I should praise my family more.
I should give my children more space in our relationship.
I should read my scriptures more.
I should brush my teeth before I go to bed.
After every “should” statement ask yourself why….? Did you like how you felt? Would your feeling motivate you to want to be the person you want to be?
You use the word should when you want to blame someone else for how you feel. Or you blame your action for how you feel. In both cases, you are judging.
Remembering there are at least two perspectives to every situation.
“I should brush my teeth before I go to bed”. Maybe. Not if there is a shortage of toothpaste and you would rather have a fresh breath in the morning.
Cathch yourself before using the word SHOULD. It’s the most harmful when you use it about yourself.
Try using the word WOULD.
WOULD you like to come back to Church? WOULD you share with me why you don’t want to come to Church?
Or the word WANT.
I WANT to focus on the positive things about my children.
WOULD and WANT are words that help the brain become curious about our perspectives in a positive way, not in a demeaning way.
If you‘re feeling judgmental of yourself or others; which causes you to feel angry, disappointed, or guilt; which causes you not to show up as the person you want to be, I can show you a tool, called the Model, which will help you find the cause of any issue you have. Let’s hop on a call together.
I offer a free 60 minute consult to get you started. I would be honored to meet with you. Just click the tab below.