According to good old Merriam Webster, should is defined as used to indicate obligation, duty, or correctness, typically when criticizing someone’s actions. In my opinion, the word “should” has judgment built right into the center of its meaning. Whether it is judging someone else or equally as detrimental, judging ourselves, I was always taught should equals shame.
Thoughts such as, I should do the laundry, I should clean the house, or I should call my parents, imply there is a correctness of doing something and I’m not doing it.
Instead, I can choose TO do the laundry or I can choose NOT TO do the laundry.
You may have heard how powerful words can be and how you can literally experience the energetic shift that occurs when you consider your habitual usage of words such as “should.”
Becoming aware and consciously choosing the words I use shifts how I feel about myself, those around me and how I see the world. Below are some word swaps if you want to try it out yourself.
Instead of should swap with
- choose or
- choose not to
Instead of I can’t swap with
- I won’t
- I choose not to
- I don’t want to
- I’ve decided not to
Instead of I have to swap with
- I will
- I want to
- I’ve decided to
- I choose to
Instead of I don’t have time to, swap with
- I’m going to do something else
- That’s not my highest priority
(photo by Lauren Peng)