WordWatch: “Should/Shouldn’t”

by Scott Noelle

Today, notice your use of the words should and shouldn’t, or any sense of duty or obligation that feels like “a should.”

The old paradigm of control through coercion relies heavily on people having internalized shoulds — following the rules established by external authority figures.

The new paradigm of empowerment through partnership (which is actually ancient but largely forgotten wisdom) arises from authentic Inner Guidance, driven by the Creative Pleasure Principle. In other words, the only thing you should do is “follow your bliss.” :)

Pleasure-orientation always eventually leads to more partnership, more kindness, more generosity. Why? Because they feel better than war, hate, and belief in scarcity.

To make the shift, replace “should” or “shouldn’t” with “could” and “could not...” For example, “I should nurse my child” becomes “I could nurse my child, and I could not nurse my child... It’s my choice.”*

Shoulds tend to make you feel as if you have no choice, which breeds resistance — resentment, anger, etc. Connecting with your freedom clears the way to feel your Inner Guidance.

Originally published on 2006-12-14
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* Despite being a staunch supporter of natural (“long-term”) breastfeeding, I stand by the above example. Doing the “right” thing for any other reason than that it feels right in your heart of hearts, almost always leads to unintended negative consequences. When you are free from the tyranny of shoulds — free to choose the “wrong” thing — and you choose to do the “right” thing anyway, you gain access to a much deeper, more powerful kind of rightness, and you won’t care if others think you’re a “good” parent.