I am donning my powerful, fancy Life Coach cape (it’s red and gold and very shiny), planting my knee-high boot clad feet, hands firmly positioned on my hips, chest thrust forward and declaring war on the evil, nasty “Shoulds.” (I am completely trained for this and have full authority. Also I have (too much!) experience fighting these evil ‘shoulds.’ Trust me.)
You too, can fight the Evil Shoulds by following these instructions carefully.
- Identify and Track the Enemy. Observe them lurking in your thoughts. It takes training and tenacity, but you can do it. Notice how they float through your thoughts when you are on-line, watching t.v., when you look in the mirror, or when you find out your mother is coming to visit.
- Counter and Resist. Ask questions. Is it true? ‘Should’ you be thinner, happier, faster, smarter? Who exactly is telling you this? (Is the ‘voice’ your mother’s? the all-knowing ‘They’ a.k.a. advertisers, media, celebrity-land, Facebook.) Does this ‘should’ motivate me or make me feel just awful? Then, just say nuh-uh, nope, no way, not gonna go there.
- Martial Artist Dance Move. Here it is! The bullet-proof, ‘should’-destroying, guaranteed success secret weapon: (Are you ready? Brace yourself!) Replace ‘should’ with ‘could’ or ‘I choose to.’
How does that feel? If inserting I ‘could’ or I ‘choose to’ do not feel ‘right’ or like a ‘hell yes!’ then the idea is not for you. For example: I should go back to school becomes: I ‘could’ go back to school. Definitely. I’ve done it before; I can do it again. I ‘choose to’ to go back to school. Well, that would require I make some changes. How inspired am I? How motivated am I? What are my reasons for doing it? By spending time and effort on this, will it be moving me in a direction I want to go?
Only you can answer these questions. The important thing is to take the power of deciding for yourself out of the hands of those 'others out there.' (see: Self-Help Overload?) You can move forward or stay where you are with more clarity and focus having been released from the strangle hold of the ‘Evil Shoulds.’