Take a Stand, Make a Choice.

December 27, 2008 § Leave a comment

It’s that time of year again, when we think about what we “should” do for the holidays and the new year. We “Should” visit our family, we “Should” exercise more, we “Should” eat healthy (and less!). Hmmm.

A nicely framed saying on an office wall caught my eye many (many!) years ago. It said:

I Will Not Should Myself Today.

I saw it, I paused, I liked it, and in the true tradition of the quirky human brain, I said:

That’s great! I Should remember that.

The woman whose office it was just looked at me and waited. Waited for me to hear what I had just said. In that moment I realized that I needed… nay, we ALL need, a new vocabulary to replace the pointless Should.

Why pointless? In that moment in that office, I began to redefine the word should in the way it is most often used. I define it thus:

SHOULD — to recognize that others may desire an action of you, or that it would benefit you in some way, and also to realize that you will not pursue that action because you really don’t want to, and to also plan to feel guilty about that. So, once I added guilt to the very definition of the word Should, it changed my perspective forever.

No More Shoulds!

It is pointless to make a choice to feel bad about not doing something you don’t really want to do anyway! Think about it, if you really wanted to do it you wouldn’t be using the word Should in the first place, now would you?

Instead, try this: make your choice to do, or not do something. “Yes, I will do that,” or “No I will not do that.” Make your choice consciously and willingly. Then, and this is the key, stand by your choice and know it was the right one for you. Take ownership of your choice. Take responsibility for your choice. It’s a great and empowering feeling. Once you get used to it (and I hope it’s very quickly) you will find this new vocabulary very freeing.

No Guilt. None. Nada.

To paraphrase the great Yoda, “Do or Do Not. There is No Should!”


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