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Banishing Shoulds

Posted in Self-Care and Self-Healing

I received the inspiration for this article at my women’s meditation and sharing circle last night. Thank you lovely friends!

We were talking about how difficult it can sometimes be to commit to the practices and habits in our lives that we know really serve us.  You know how it is, you discover something that makes you feel happy, healthier, more relaxed or more consciously aware.  You want to do more of it and yet…..

We make excuses, we don’t make the time, we tell ourselves we’ll try again tomorrow, we slip back into old patterns.

Yoga and meditation were like this for me through my twenties and into my early thirties.  Then something changed.  It didn’t happen overnight, but ever so gradually I began to honour the urgings of my inner self and I took charge of making that weekly yoga class and a daily meditation practice high priorities in my life.

image courtesy
image courtesy

Since then, these activities have become a part of who I am and it feels more natural to be doing them than to not.

One big key to my success in this aspect of my life was realising the negative impact the word ‘should’ was having on my behaviour and eliminating it from my vocabulary.

“I should go to a yoga class” became, “I’m going to yoga this week”.  “I should make time to meditate more often” became, “I could use the time when the children are having their afternoon sleep to meditate”.

I believe that for most of us, the word, should, carries a bucket-load of negative energy and unpleasant associations.  Did anyone grow up and not hear a parent use this word multiple times a day to get us to do the tasks we dreaded or change an aspect of ourselves they disapproved of?

“You should tidy your room”, “You should do more homework”, “You should be nicer to your sister”, “You should go and visit your grandma” etcetera, etcetera.

So how do you think your inner child feels when you use ‘should’ to encourage yourself to do something that you like and you know is good for you?  I reckon that inner 12 year-old who hates hearing should, turns into a rebellious little devil and tries her darndest to sabotage your plan.  And it usually works doesn’t it.

So get rid of should and use other words like; could, will, would like to.  You get the drift, I’m sure.

Start right now.  Think of something you have been wanting to make a habit of doing in your life but have been struggling to commit to.  Then say to yourself out loud; “I should do _________ more often.”. Notice how that feels in your mind and body.

Now say to yourself; “I enjoy doing ________ and I would like to do it more often”. Notice how these words carry a lighter, more uplifting energy.

The bottom line here is that changing your vocabulary is just the beginning.  The natural getting of wisdom that comes with age, combined with a gigantic dose of self love and connection to the true self is what’s needed to combat this inner saboteur.

As you release the need to speak to yourself from the voice of a disapproving parent, the way you live will more closely mirror what your soul yearns for and your whole life will feel more free and more joyful.

Dance, sing, stretch, paint, write, speak, pray, meditate, eat and play!  Enjoy it all, for you are a child of the universe.



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