Why You Should Stop Using the Word Should

Lisbeth Essays, Mindset

Drop “should” from your word rotation. Vow right here, right now not to use it anymore.

Think about it. Every time you use the word “should” you’re tossing judgment onto yourself or someone else. You’re saying what you think ought to be done by someone else or by you. Maybe even in the past (“should have”) or just in the future (“you should” “I should”).

Should is a word that doesn’t live in the present. It can’t. It’s not designed that way. Should is word derived from the Old English “sholde” which is a form of “sceolde” which means “was obliged to” or “owed.”

Yet the present is all we have. This moment and nothing more. We can plan and hope (and learn from the past), certainly, but we can only truly live right now in this moment.

Should is a word chock full of expectations, for you and for others. And no matter how you carry it, expectation is a heavy load. So is guilt.

Slip the coat of guilt from your shoulders. Don’t fling it. Fold it carefully. That guilt came from love somewhere: it is a tender thing and you can care for it tenderly. Slip the coat of guilt into a bag. Now simply put it down and walk away. Don’t hesitate and don’t come back for it. Keep walking.

But what now? What word to use in place of “should”? Try “must.”

And if it doesn’t fit? Use nothing. The world will keep turning. And you will be just a little bit more free.

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Lisbeth Essays, Mindset


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