Coaching Tip: Stop “Shoulding” Yourself
“Be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars. In the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul”. ~Max Ehrmann
How often do you begin statements inside your head or out loud that begin with words like: I know I - should, shouldn’t, need to, have to, supposed to…? These words create constriction and the illusion that you have a lack of choice. They are all different shoulds!
When we’re young we’re continually told what to do, how to think and feel about things, the difference between right and wrong… according to other people’s perceptions and beliefs. We become culturally conditioned to societal beliefs and behaviors. We develop viewpoints to look at life through a lens of guilt, obligation, and shame. Too often we are making decisions and taking actions that aren’t what we really desire. If that’s true for you, whose life are you living?
How often do you get upset with yourself when you don’t do something you feel you should do? What does your self-talk sound like? Supportive? Unsupportive?
How much vitality and joy do you feel when you do things out of guilt, obligation, or shame because you fear negative consequences. You may be afraid of upsetting others or risking the withdrawal of their love and being punished in some way. The result is a build-up of resentment, anger and frustration that ultimately becomes self-directed.
The ability to have choice and make our own decisions is an important freedom; a part of having free will and spiritual growth. Without the freedom to make choices we can feel powerless and hopeless.
Who would consciously choose to feel that way?
How often do you should on yourself?
Over the next 24 hours observe how often you begin statements out loud or in your head that begins with shoulds. Do this as an experiment to become more self-aware. Pay attention to how you feel emotionally, physically, spiritually.
Write down a few statements that begin with any of these words, “I should…. I have to, I need to
To allow yourself to have choice, play with replacing your statements with permission language.
Examples of new language:
I choose to…..
I desire to…..
I give myself permission to….
It’s ok for me to…….
Notice how you feel – emotionally, physically….
Do you see how shifting your language to include choice moves you from constriction to a place of expansion and possibility! Permission language feels more loving and respectful too. Can’t ya just feel it?
PS If you quickly repeated the phrase, “I will not should on myself today” at least three times, you might be surprised at what you are really saying. Go on, try it.
Have a great day filled with lots of choices!