This Common Little Word Grinds Down Confidence
It’s such an innocent little word. Dished out and consumed like sweet treats. And just like your teeth after years of indulging in sugar, this word invisibly grinds away at confidence.
I’m going to give you some alternatives, but first…
What is this mysterious word? And why is it so destructive to confidence?
Right from when we were very small, we started hearing the “S-H” word.
Maybe it was implied or perhaps it was clearly, unmistakably and repeatedly spelled out for you – “should”.
“You should be tidier.”
“You should be quieter.”
“You should be more polite.”
As we grew up, they probably kept coming:
“You should be thinner.”
“You should be smarter.”
“You should be more ambitious.” (or “You should be less ambitious.”!)
“You should have less hair on your little toe!”
And Guess what?..
These messages often come from people who want us to be successful, happy and confident! (Perhaps our parents, teachers and friends.)
And maybe sometimes from less well-intentioned sources, such as spiteful siblings or self-serving media.
Wherever they come from, these “shoulds” creep into our subconscious minds and cling there, slowly affecting our thoughts, feelings and actions, even decades later in life. And with attention focused on who and what we should be, we distract ourselves from the important process of discovering who we really are…our authentic selves.
No wonder so many people hit middle age and suddenly ask themselves:
“Hang on, who am I anyway?”
“Shoulds” get in the way of us experiencing true confidence. Comparing ourselves to these “shoulds” will not lead to a better you,
or a happier you,
or a more successful you.
Sure, there may be people with qualities you admire and you can strive to emulate more of that person’s qualities in your own life, but as soon as they become “shoulds”, your aspirations become disempowering.
Because no other YOU ever has, or will again walk the planet.
You are completely unique. You have strengths hidden inside you that compare to nobody on earth.
How can anybody tell you who you should be? How can you tell yourself how you should be?
What if you were to wipe the word “should” from your vocabulary and replaced it with more empowering words?
What if instead, you mindfully accept things as they really are and make a decision about what your next action will be?
For example, instead of saying “I should go for a run”, you might instead say:
“I am going for a run” OR “I’m not going for a run today, I’ll go tomorrow”.
Instead of saying “I shouldn’t feel like this”, you might instead say:
“I do feel like this and this is what I’m going to do about it…”
So, next time a “should” creeps into your thinking, replace it with more empowering words and you may find that you are more motivated to take action and feel more positively about your true, authentic self.
A rose who compares herself to a soursob may feel insecure about her thorns and fail to fully bloom.