Stop Shoulding on Yourself

When we begin a dialogue of what we (or others) should have done, we are imposing a negative association with “what has been” and potentially contaminating what will be thereafter.

In this conversation, the implication is that the decision, direction, or activity was unfavorable as to what it “could have been.” There is no opening for the possibility that perhaps what occurred happened exactly the way it was meant to happen, for personal growth and betterment.

In life, the crystal ball is seldom accessible in the moment. However, hindsight truly is 20/20. We make decisions based on what we know, where we are, and those variables present at the time.

Lessons learned through mistakes improve us in many ways. For most of us, these lessons must be our own, and sometimes we require more than one round to learn what life is trying to teach us.

That said, someone else’s lesson seldom changes our independent thinking. Experience is the best teacher; we learn best when we study in our own classroom, so to speak.

Therefore, the experiences of one cannot be superimposed on another. Individual life lessons are as unique as the people themselves; we are all independent studiers working our way through semesters of lessons and learning at different paces.

Our lives are varied and our experiences vastly different. That is a fact. So why then do we believe that others should do what we think they should?

In this “should” way of speaking, judgment is implied. If the mention of “should” is related to an achievement, goal, or lifestyle, there is an implied assessment of inadequacy related to the decision made. This is the opposite of forward thinking; it is caustic and disempowering. Whether judgment is voiced toward another or imposed on self, it is breaking down what is present, inevitably affecting the hopeful thinking about what is to be. The “shoulds” of today affect the “coulds” of tomorrow.

Look for the blessing in what did not occur the first time (e.g., the lesson of the, dare I say, mistake). Perception is the key here. By shifting our perception, we then can candidly ask the question (no shame or blame), what is missing? We then can move our awareness to what else may be needed–how powerful to ask and receive!

This is where the miraculous nature of the universe unfolds and occurs. Consider this possibility: by using “should,” we unknowingly create a disservice to self and others. The power of words deepens our meaning and colors the intentions spoken into our world.

Bottom line: Shoulding on self limits personal potency and the flow of miracles. Let us be mindful in consciously revising our “shoulds” on self and opening the cracked door of possibility within our speaking.

Patricia Bonelli, Matt Jackson, and Lauren Ranes

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