Take the pressure of yourself is an updated post. It takes approx 3 mins to read.

“Strike the word should from your vocabulary.”
Scott Mautz


Someone once told me to stop shoulding on myself.  At the time I didn’t even know what they were talking about.  My “shoulding’ was so habitual and ingrained it took quite some time to start to hear myself saying it.

The dictionary definition for should states that it is used to indicate obligation, duty, or correctness, typically when criticising someone’s actions.

And that is what I began to hear. Not only was should a constant word in my verbal discourse, it was also at the core of the constant self criticism in my head.

You should this, that and the other, went droning on all day long, about almost anything. I should have done it differently, better, not at all. I shouldn’t have said it, thought it or imagined it.

Guilt inducing

When we tell ourselves we should, we create an obligation which can make us feel like there is no choice. This guilt inducing language is very unkind. Constantly criticising and monitoring what we are doing, thinking and saying is exhausting and creates a state of dissatisfaction with ourselves and our lives.

The saving grace is COULD.

Could instead

With could we give ourselves a choice: I COULD do something or I COULD NOT do it. Should doesn’t allow for any options. It is fraught with obligation and burden, leaving no room for any other possibility. We feel like we HAVE to do it.

Take the pressure off yourself

It’s time to take the pressure off. It’s horrible to live under such a regime of our own making. Treating ourselves like this is no way to live.

Instead try this:

  • Set an intention to listen to yourself, find out what you are saying.

  • Whenever you hear a SHOULD replace it with a COULD.

  • Give yourself a choice.

  • Then ask yourself, what do I fear will happen if I DON’T do this?

Limiting Beliefs

These fears keep us small and stop us living up to our full potential. Instead we live confined by the limiting beliefs formed in the past that taught us how to act and be in the world.

Once we can hear our shoulds we can follow their trail. By shining  a light on what is hidden in our unconscious minds we make change possible. We can find freedom from our conditioning, all the inner chatter that keeps us pinned down and controlled by our past.

“But this revolutionary act of treating ourselves tenderly can begin to undo the aversive messages of a lifetime.”

Tara Brach


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Categories: Self Care

About the Author: Mairi

Radical Self Care Coach, supporting you to create a calmer, simpler, more deeply connected life where you take better care of yourself and our planet.

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