Monday, October 7, 2013

Healthier Inner Dialogue - Should

Every morning (well most of them), I do a version of Julia Cameron’s morning pages.  I sit down and write for a few pages, just to get my creative self rolling.  Sometimes I write the start of a cool poem or blog post or a snippet of dialogue that I like enough to use, but most of the time, I end up writing about things I need to do that day.

One day I realized that my morning pages were filled with line after line of shoulds: I should finish up that writing piece, I should pick up the dry cleaning today, I should stop to get stamps.  Should, should, should.

As I made these lists, I found myself feeling heavier and heavier, trying to bear the weight of all those shoulds.  My simple to-do list had become a weighty burden, dragging on me, preventing me from seeing anything else but all of things that I should be doing.

I felt crushed under the burden and unhappy, so I stopped doing it.  I stopped using the word should. Instead I made a conscious decision to use could.

I could finish that writing piece. I could pick up the dry cleaning today.  I could stop to get stamps.  I felt lighter.

Suddenly it felt like I had choices.  Maybe I would, maybe I wouldn't buy stamps today.  It was up to me.  And if I didn't, it wasn't going to carry that same weight of guilt that the should would possess.

It is a simple mind shift, but one that I have found to be soothing to my psyche.


Tina Bradley said...

Fabulous way to shift thoughts--via words. Love it, Terry! Hugs to you this Monday! T.

Kei said...

Good idea for changing thoughts :) I've heard that swapping 'should' for 'it would be helpful if I...' works too (at least for figuring out if you really need to do something, or if it's not that important! lol)

Maureen Hayes said...

I had to laugh when I read this because a few years ago I was struggling with using the "s" word (should) until a friend explained that when we do that we "should all over ourselves!". It made such an impression on me that I no longer use the word should in that context because I don't want to "should" on myself. . . Lol! Good luck with the re-phrasing, I think it is a wonderful idea!

Magic Love Crow said...

I should finish those questions Terry asked me! LOL! At least I haven't deleted them ;o) LOL!