In life we have so many responsibilities and things that we feel we need to do. Don’t we all catch ourselves saying that we should do this, or someone else should have done that? But what are we actually doing when we should all over ourselves and the world around us? Let’s break down where the should comes from, what it’s doing to us and how to turn it into a more positive word…could.
The trouble with should
Some of the effects of should
Should in action
Could it be more positive?
Yes! By using the word ‘could’ we are opening ourselves up to opportunity and choice. We pretty much always have a choice. Sometimes it doesn’t feel like it because the other option is so bad, or wrong, or even illegal; but when you peel back all the layers, you do have choice. Acknowledging that fact makes all the difference. When we use ‘could’ we acknowledge that we are actively choosing for ourselves. We are not simply accepting the pressures, expectations, or responsibilities placed on us. When we use the word ‘could’, we bring many positive aspects to our situation, instead of the resentment and anger that comes from the ‘should’ thought. When turned into a ‘could’, we find joy, and encouragement and appreciation in ourselves and our interactions with loved ones.
Let’s take the example of ‘should’ bringing procrastination and poor quality of work or action. Turning it into a ‘could’, we find that we complete the action with more pride, higher quality and care. This is because we chose that for ourselves after considering all of the aspects and possible outcomes. In regard to lies and deceit, there is much less pressure in the ‘could’ option. If we acknowledge that we ultimately always have a choice, we can be honest about not being able or willing to do it. This can spare everyone involved from dishonesty and breaking of trust. By shifting from ‘should’ to ‘could’, we give ourselves the opportunity to be honest with others and ourselves.
Could in action
So, using the example above again, let’s see what happens if we turn it around to “I could help my friend move”. This flipped into an acknowledgment of opportunity and then a deliberate choice. Meaning, “I could help her move, since I have time and I ultimately want to help her because I care about her and want the best for her.” Or perhaps we find ourselves saying “I could help her move, but it is such a bad time for me right now and I am just too busy or not feeling well. Perhaps I can support her in another way.” Whether or not the ‘could’ choice leads to the same physical action as the ‘should’ (helping her move). By changing from a place of ‘should’ to ‘could’, we acknowledge that there is a choice.
With could we feel free and don’t have some invisible, heavy pressure or expectation weighing on us. We recognize that we can choose to not do the action. This then leads us to maybe choose another way we can help or contribute. We might still choose to take action, in which case we’ll do it with more joy, clarity and determination. This is because we recognize the true underlying reason for our choice (that we care deeply for this friend and want to be of help).
How Life Coaching Could Help
Baby steps to turn should into could
You’ve got the power
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