This year, I tossed the word “should” from my vocabulary. It felt really good to do it.
It was Anita Moorjani who made me see the word “should” differently. When she advised not using the word, I thought, “Huh… OK, I’ll give it a try.”
I wasn’t entirely convinced.
However, the first time I caught myself saying it, and I remembered to hit the mental “delete” key. Hm. I felt quite different. In that instant, I felt better.
I’ve since tossed “should” from my vocabulary and never looked back. It seemed so simple when Anita talked about it. Funny, too, because it never dawned on me how damaging the word “should” could be, until I stopped saying it.
Think about it.
Think of all the times you use the word “should” and then think about how you feel when you use it. It’s one of those sneaky words that fucks up your self-talk, but no one really realizes this because it’s so common.
I should work out more.
I should eat less sugar.
I should get to bed earlier.
I should call my mom more often.
I should save more money.
I should work more.
I should stop eating so much chocolate.
I should, I should, I should.
All of those statements above are NOT empowering.
They’re definitely not helping create elevated emotions. Remember, to manifest our dreams, we want to feel elevated as often as possible. Cutting out the word “should” is low-hanging fruit when pursuing your Happy Sexy Millionaire life.
(With these examples, notice that I’m not talking about harmless instances of the word, like “hey honey, we should stop by the store on the way home.” But since I’ve eliminated the word from my vocabulary, as a matter of habit, now I’d say something like “hey honey, let’s stop by the store on the way home.”)
When I gave myself permission to never use the word “should” again, my life shifted noticeably in some very specific instances. My mood lightened. There were certain things adding weight to my shoulders, and I was able to lighten the load when I cut the word from my vocabulary.
The example of “I should work out today” just left me feeling lousy when I said it. Getting rid of it one day made me feel better because the guilt was gone. Guilt is not an elevated emotion.
It was subtle, yet effective.
The Micro Steps — Like Espresso
While I talk a lot about the big macro steps to becoming a Happy Sexy Millionaire — worthwhile things that take a bit of time in your life, etc., it’s these little changes — the micro steps — like removing the word “should” from your vocabulary that fill in the cracks. Not only are micro steps easy to implement, but they’re powerful. Like a cup of espresso — tiny, but they pack a punch!
So I stopped using the word “should,” and every time I caught myself about to use it, I chose another word, or I replaced it with “could” (more on that below). In each of those moments, I felt like a sly little sassy fox, thinking, “Oh, hahaha, I don’t have to go down that road. Should isn’t a word I use anymore.” Nope. I danced the other way, feeling good.
You’ll know what I mean when you stop using the shitty word “should” for yourself.
Why Shushing Your Should(s) Works
It wasn’t until later that I was able to articulate why the “should” word sucks.
It was learning from two of the greatest experts in self-talk in the world: my father-in-law, THE FATHER of self-talk, Dr. Shad Helmstetter. The other person was THE MOTHER of self-talk, Louise Hay.
Anita Moorjani talked me into ditching that word. But it was both Shad and Louise who clarified for me just why it’s so powerful when you do let it go.
When you let it go, you’ll feel relief. And that’s exactly how I felt. Relief. Who would’ve thought a tiny word could make such a difference? Do you see the power of words with this simple example?
Dr. Shad’s take on the beguiling word “should”…
I should. On the surface it looks as though it should work for us. But instead, it works against us. In this level of self-talk, we are stating to ourselves our recognition of our need to change. This is characterized by words such as I need to or I should. The problem is that it recognizes a problem, but creates no solution. What we are really saying is ‘I should get more organized but I’m not.’Dr. Shad Helmstetter
Louise says we want to replace “should” with “could.”
I believe that should is one of the most damaging words in our language. Every time we use should, we are, in effect, saying wrong. Either we are wrong or we were wrong or we are going to be wrong. I don’t think we need more wrongs in our life. We need to have more freedom of choice. I would like to take the word should and remove it from the vocabulary forever. I’d replace it with the word could. Could gives us choice and we are never wrong. What is there on your should list that could be dropped with a sense of relief?
Makes us a prisoner of us and makes us wrong or someone else wrong. Change your should to could. Could gives us choice and power. “I always have a choice.” We always have a choice.Louise Hay
Your task… drop the should’s. Leave it at that if you want and just feel the freedom of letting the word go and see how much more enjoyable your life is. Later, consider replacing it with the word “could” if you’re looking for motivation to do certain things.
I could work out.
I could meditate.
I could eat better.
There is power in the word “could.” It creates a sense of responsibility with the choice. Guilt doesn’t accompany it. For newbies though, I find that just ditching “should” is great place to start and bring more happiness into your life. On occasion, you can throw in a “could” to spark motivation, but it’s not necessary every time.