Are You Shoulding on Yourself?
by Linda-Ann Stewart
My mom was an awesome life and spiritual coach. One of her main recommendations was to eliminate what she called the "must, ought, shoulds" in your life. When you use any of these three words against yourself, you increase your sense of shame, anxiety, pressure, and guilt.
Statements such as, "I should lose weight," "I ought to be more productive," or "I must exercise," don't inspire you to comply. These phrases are an attempt to force yourself to do what some inner part of you thinks is important. But coercion of that sort backfires because it's human nature to rebel against that type of control.
Why You Resist
Often, to escape the negative feelings, you do exactly the opposite, or do something that gives you pleasure. But then, you feel even more guilt, which causes you to further avoid what your inner bully is trying to make you do. This just makes you feel worse. And around and around it goes.
The part of you that's pushing you this way is doing it to try to help you. It doesn't feel like support, but that inner voice is trying to get you to do something it thinks will be beneficial for you. That part just isn't going about it very effectively. Instead of encouraging, it's trying to pressure you.
How to Take Back Your Power
When you notice that automatic voice in your head, ask yourself these questions:
Why should I do what it wants me to do?
What would change if I acted on what it wants?
What would the result or benefit be for me?
Is this something I want?
If the outcome is one you want, you can shift your response from resistance to making a deliberate choice to act. You can reframe "must," "ought," and "should" to "I choose to" or "I choose not to." If you decide to take the action, that inner voice isn't winning. Instead, by changing your attitude, you're taking your power back.
Think about how you'll feel afterwards by following through. For one thing, you'll free yourself from that oppressive voice. And second, you'll you receive the benefits of the action. And lastly, you'll feel better about yourself and have more energy to do the things you love.
Copyright © 2009-2023 Linda Ann Stewart
All Rights Reserved
As a focus coach, hypnotherapist, and speaker, Linda-Ann Stewart motivates women to focus and transform their business through deliberate actions that break through distraction and overwhelm to greater success, freedom, wellbeing and prosperity. Register for her FREE Design Your Best Day guide and guided meditation at www.Linda-AnnStewart.com/guide.html. You can contact her at LAS@Linda-AnnStewart.com or 928-600-0452.