Don’t “Should” On Me
Dr. Howard Peiper – Path to a Better Life
The word “should” is probably better than any other word in the English language for creating anxiety.
When we tell ourselves we "should" do something it carries great authority. Some close relatives of should are: "ought to", "have to", "need to", "got to", and "must". Most of us feel the pressure and stress in those words.
We might tell ourselves we "should" be less anxious about going to an interview, but we already know we do feel anxious. So the message we are giving ourselves is that we shouldn’t feel the way we are feeling. This in turn makes us feel that we are somehow wrong or bad which produces more anxiety.
Even something simple like "I should clean up my room" can create anxiety. On one side is this authority figure telling us what we should do, on the other side is our emotional self-saying “But I don’t feel like it”. We get caught in the middle of this anxiety producing conflict between shoulds and feelings.
Below are some common should sentences:
- You shouldn’t feel that way.
- I must be thriftier.
- You should be able to do better than that.
- I’ve got to make more money.
- I have to call my mother tonight
- He really should be more considerate.
What is the problem with "shoulds"? Aren’t there things we "should" do? What would happen if we stopped telling ourselves all day long that we "should/must/ought to/have to/got to" do things? Would we become lazy, irresponsible bums? “Should” inner talk is an attempt to influence behavior by guilt and higher authority. It has been a favorite of parents for generations.
Is there a better way to motivate us and other people than using "shouldisms"? Yes, first of all, shoulds don’t really work that well. Shoulds creates inner conflict and resistance. Shoulds take away enjoyment and autonomy. Next time we start to say "should" to ourselves, try substituting "could", "want to", "prefer", "might", "like to" and similar words. These are liberating words if we have been subjecting ourselves to shouldisms.
As we change our inner talk, we will find ourselves feeling more empowered, more in charge of our lives. This process will help us examine our underlying assumptions and see if they really reflect our true beliefs and values.
Here are some examples:
I have to do it right now.
I could do it right now.
I should be able to do better than that.
I could do better than that.
I have to call my mother tonight.
I want to call my mother tonight.
He really should be more considerate.
I would prefer it if he were more considerate.
Howard, nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, has written numerous books on nutrition and natural health including 12 best sellers.
Create a Miracle with Hexagonal Water
New Hope for Serious Diseases
The A.D.D. & A.D.H. Diet
Zeolite Nature's Heavy Metal Detoxifier
Viral Immunity with Humic Acid
The Secrets of Staying Young
Nutritional Leverage For Great Golf
All Natural High Performance Diet
Natural Solutions For Sexual Enhancement
Super Nutrition for Dogs and Cats
Books can be ordered at:
Safe Goods Publishing.
Dr. Peiper is co-host of the award winning Television show, Partners in Healing. They feature guest in the alternative healing field including such names as Harvey Diamond, Dr. John Upledger, Dr. Bernard Jensen, Gary Null and Dr. Marshall Mandell.