Whole Health Counseling | Don’t Should Yourself
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Don’t Should Yourself

23 Oct Don’t Should Yourself

As I looked at my website the dreaded “SHOULD” statement entered my head as I thought “I really should be writing more blog posts.”  “After all, I committed to myself to write a post at least one time a week.”  “Well look how well I have done with that”….Ok, ok you can see the rabbit whole my mind started to go down of beating myself up and soon it will lead to self-defeat and the continued lack of blogs being posted on the site. 

So what is this talk about the dreaded “SHOULD” statement and what can you do to change them?  First step is to notice them.  Sometimes I don’t even notice when I am saying or thinking it for that matter. For example just the other day, a client caught me “should-ing” myself in an example I was giving about health, stating “I should drink more water.”

After you notice the should’s ask yourself, says who?  Who says you should?  What expectation, assumption, etc. have been placed on you?  Next you can simply replace the should to a softer language of COULD which offers possibilities or options.  Try it and you will see. “I could be wring more blog posts, but….” It gives me an out.  I have the opportunity to be kinder to myself. “…but I have been busy.  Tomorrow I will schedule out a block of time to commit to it.”

The better way yet, is to completely change the way we talk to ourself as my client so nicely pointed out to me when I reframed my statement to “I could be drinking more water.” “You told me I wasn’t allowed to use could anymore either.” So another option would be. “I want to drink more water again because I know when I was doing it before, I felt better” or “I want to write these blogs because it not only helps me, but it will help others.” Using want and deserve statements rather than should’s and could’s.  Rework the pressuring statement that makes you feel bad for not doing something that may be setting you up for failure and make it uplifting, motivating and inspiring.

As soon as I challenged the should statement that entered my head this post almost wrote itself. In the time it took me to put my face cream on in the mirror I had it written in my head.  Yes, that may have not been the ideal space to be thinking about this as it did bring up a whole host of other should statements spinning about.  I see as just another teaching opportunity on challenging and reframing:  “I should be drinking more water for my complexion and maybe I wouldn’t be so bloated” (“I could drink more water” or “I want to and deserve to do a better job of prioritizing my water consumption each day, so I feel better and look healthier”); “I should drink my probiotics” (“You are drinking them and your skin is improving. Good job”); “I should be exercising more as I am not looking the way I did” (“I could increase the amount I am exercising, but I have been busier lately and my values have shifted recently” or “I want to get back to where I was so I am going to recommit to myself and my discipline because I deserve to take good care of myself”).

When we can get rid of or should statements we begin to be kinder to ourselves and let go of unrealistic expectations we hold and we gain motivation to change and follow through with our goals. Time to let go of the dreaded SHOULD.


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