Following up on my “should” topic, let’s take a look at another group of energy-sucking phrases. “Have to” “Need to” “I must” There are very few things we have to do or need to do, and everything else is choice.** In fact, if I talked with you right now, I …
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“You don’t have to replace ‘should’ in every thought and communication cold-turkey. Just replacing a few habitual “shoulds” will make a difference in mood and energy, and it gets easier once you create some momentum.”
I guess I should begin… oops! I’d like to start out with a characterization of the word “should.”
There are few more self-righteous, stress-producing, and energy-sapping words than “should.”
In fact, in his book Feeling Good, The New Mood Therapy, Dr. David D. Burns, a cognitive therapist, treats “should statements” as direct contributors to cognitive distortions, and devotes considerable space to revising these dysfunctional thoughts for the good of anyone seeking to improve their mood.
Should strips us of our authority, and puts it outside us in some power or arbitrary rule or belief that takes our choice away, and enslaves us.
Should is the basis of artificial guilt, a useless, punishing, emotion.