Stop Shoulding All Over Yourself

Do you find yourself using a word over and over again without giving it much thought? If you’ve been around teens (and beyond), you know their go-to filler word is “like.” “How was your day?” “Well, it was like Ok, but lunch was like great!”

(Side note…have you noticed how much the word “literally” is being used by teens? Adults are guilty, too. It is literally everywhere. See what I did there? Now that I pointed it out, you’ll literally start to notice it more. Sorry about that!)

What I keep seeing over and over again is how many times people (of all ages) use the word “should” without even giving it another thought. As a recovering user of the word “should,” my radar is always on. 😉

The Oxford Dictionary defines “should” as a verb “used to indicate obligation, duty, or correctness, typically when criticizing someone’s actions.”

My question would be you “should” according to whom? When you do something because you “should” do it, you are giving your power away.

Don’t get me wrong. “Should” can have a positive meaning. You should go to the doctor. You should wear deodorant. You should keep some opinions to yourself, etc. You get the idea! Some “shoulds” are necessary.

If you read a bit more in the Oxford Dictionary, you find a refined meaning of “should” to be “indicating an expected state.”

I’ve written about expectations many times knowing how soul sucking they can be. (Looking for a past blog about expectations? Click here for You Are Enough. By the way, if you ever want to find a blog on a certain topic, simply visit my blog page. You can even search for a topic.)

It’s easy to place expectations on ourselves without even realizing we’ve done it. We are programmed as children, and our role in society (mom, career-woman, young adult) adds its own expectations..

Having these expectations in place can easily set us up for a lifetime of “shoulds.” Doesn’t that just drain your energy thinking about it? Your toddler should go to just the right preschool. You should have a home decorated in just the right way. You should spend more to have just the right clothes, car, home, etc. All these “shoulds” come from your perceived expectations that others are placing on you.

Let’s say you want to live a more conscious life and are ready to break up with the word “should?” Just making that decision is pointing you in the right direction.

But then again, this is about habit change and let’s face it, habit change can be a sticky wicket. It’s difficult!

You can try to go about this habit change on your own, or you may be able to find a friend who is also desiring a more conscious lifestyle. If you’re lucky in that arena, having an accountability buddy can make the process easier for you.

Just remember to go easy on yourself. Celebrate the times you catch yourself using “should” and turning it around, possibly to “I want to…”

Where do “should” and the expectations of others show up in your life? Go ahead and let me know in the comments below.

As always, should you have any questions or want to connect, you can reach me at

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