Word Swaps: Should and Can/Choose/Want

Stop Shoulding Yourself

I should color this gray hair.

I should go to church more often.

I should call my friend.

SHOULD comes from outside:  other people’s expectations, social mores, even laws.  SHOULD is about obligation and duty.

CAN/CHOOSE/WANT come from inside:  your desires, your options, your needs.  CAN/CHOOSE/WANT are about taking care of you.

I also like the present tense action of CAN and CHOOSE and WANT.  They are words of doing; SHOULD is a word of thinking about doing.

How about eliminating SHOULD and choosing a word that echoes your choice, your control over your own actions?

If you can’t replace “should” with “choose” or “can,” why are you doing it?  

If you’re thinking, “I should be running,” but you have a stress fracture, you’re setting yourself up to not meet that expectation.  How about “I choose to heal.”  Even if you’re sitting on your butt, these words put you in charge of the decision to sit on your butt!  It’s for a purpose.  But if you are in a place where you can say “I want to run,” that puts the onus on you.  It’s your call!

If the only reason you call your friend is because you should…DON’T.  If you can say “I want to call my friend”….DO!

So today’s challenge is to listen for SHOULD.  You CAN do it!

4 thoughts on “Word Swaps: Should and Can/Choose/Want

  1. catroth

    This was one of the first things we covered in my first therapy session. She handed me a piece of paper with the word SHOULD crossed out, and I stuck it to the inside of my paper journal. I’m still struggling with the “should”. I like your word and thought choices a lot better. 🙂


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