The Detrimental Impact of “Should” on Your Life

In the realm of language and self-expression, some words carry more weight than others. One such word, often underestimated, is “should.”

Why is “should” such a detrimental word? And how can a simple shift in language can empower you to lead a more fulfilling life?

The Disempowering Nature of “Should”

The word “should” has a way of making us feel disempowered.

When we say things like, “I should call my mom” or “I should clean the house,” we are not taking any real action. Instead, we are merely judging ourselves for not having done it yet. This lack of action can drain our confidence and motivation.

One key reason “should” is detrimental is because it breeds self-judgment. We often berate ourselves, thinking, “I should have done this, but I haven’t, so I must be inadequate.” Self-compassion is essential for personal growth, and constantly using “should” hinders this process. While it may provide short-term motivation, in the long run, it erodes self-esteem, leading to diminished confidence, energy, and motivation.

Empowerment Through Language

To break free from the disempowering grip of “should,” consider replacing it with something more empowering.

Instead of saying, “I should call my mom,” try saying, “I choose not to call my mom right now; maybe I’ll call her tomorrow.” This shift in language is transformative. It eliminates judgment and empowers you to make choices that align with your intentions.

For instance, instead of saying, “I should eat better,” you can say, “I am going to choose to eat a healthy meal.” This small change in wording reframes your thoughts positively and encourages healthier actions.

Try This Simple Exercise

To gauge the power of your words, practice this exercise. Think of a sentence that starts with “I should,” and notice how it feels in your body—often heavy, sticky, and dark. Then, rephrase it using “I choose” or “I choose not to” and observe the shift.

You’ll likely experience a burst of lightness and empowerment.

The word “should” may seem innocuous, but it holds immense power over your thoughts, actions, and self-esteem. By recognizing its disempowering nature and replacing it with more positive language, such as “I choose,” you can regain control over your life, reduce self-judgment, and take meaningful steps toward a happier, more fulfilling existence.

So, the next time you catch yourself saying “should,” pause and consider how you can reframe your statement to empower yourself. Let go of the judgment, and choose your actions consciously.

“Should” may be one of the worst words in the English language, but you have the power to transform it into a force for positive change in your life.

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If you have enjoyed this article and would like to take this journey further, check out my book The Good Thing About Mortar Shells: Choosing love over fear”.