Hey friend. I’ve been responding to so many emails and comments lately (excuse my delay on responses as I catch up from being gone), and noticed a word pop up a lot that I want to bring to your attention. I think it’s a pretty huge problem word: SHOULD

Do you use the word “should” often?

I should do this, I should do that, I should exercise, I should eat better, I should be grateful, I should just stop doing XYZ. etc.

There are a few problems with “should”.

One, it absolutely implies a negative.

And two, there is no true intention behind it to set you up for action, much less success.

Saying “I should,” meaning “must” or “ought,” is saying “I know that it’s something I’m feeling pressured to do by myself or others, but I just don’t want to, or I feel like I can’t.”

But saying “should” instead, is also taking away your ability to FEEL that frustration, discouragement, or pain—it’s the opposite of self-compassion.

Whatever it is you SHOULD do, there’s a reason you’re not.

What if, instead of beating yourself up and telling yourself you should do it, you found compassion for yourself?

First, ask yourself—WHY are you putting pressure on yourself to do this? Or, if you’re feeling pressured from an outside source, why is that?

Then, ask—do I even care about this?

Hint: If you don’t care, it probably isn’t going to happen.

So maybe, if this is something you don’t care about but want (for instance, your health, personal growth, etc.)—it’s worth first exploring how you can decide to care about this.

Let’s use an example.

“I should exercise.”

Why should you exercise?

Version 1: “I hate the way I look. I want to weigh less and am tired of feeling miserable about myself.”

Version 2: “I want to feel better. I don’t want to keep getting sick, or feel stiff all the time. I’m unconfident, and I want to feel good about myself now, and as I get older.”

Do you know which answer is more likely to yield action and change? Yes, of course you do!

The second one acknowledges how their health is affected, as well their confidence with how they feel about and look at themselves. The motivator is internal, not external, and the approach is compassionate, not judgmental.

Subtle differences in language and how we talk to ourselves can be the reason we do or don’t do something.

Ever felt like you don’t know WHY you can’t or won’t take action on something that you know is important to you? If this is you, I would bet you beat yourself up a lot.

It could be as simple as the way you speak to yourself that’s holding you back.

Try to shift that perspective.

Remember, “should” is really implying that there is no true intention, which means follow through is tough, if not impossible.

Instead, find your WHYkeep it close, and be nice to yourself along the way.

Do you find yourself saying “should” often? If yes, why do you think that is? Feel free to reply to this email and let me know!

If you haven’t noticed, spend this week with some awareness around the word “should,” noticing if it comes up for you.

For the next few weeks I’ll be sending one Brain Food email out per week instead of two to allow a little extra time for a new project I’m working on—can’t wait to share it with you! Thanks for understanding 🙂

Have a wonderful week!

Sending light and love your way,