Over the last couple of years, I have tried to remove the word “should” from my vocabulary? I have tried not to say, “I should …” or “I should not have…” "Should" and "should not" are accusatory phrases that imply judgement and an absolute right or wrong. Life is really about choice, and even God gives us the right and privilege to make a free choice.
Let me explain how this has operated in my life. I might make the decision to reach a particular goal and then "should" myself if I fall off the path, so to speak. For example, I set a goal to eat healthier, more whole foods and less processed foods. I was then faced with a choice to stray from my desired plan. At these times, I would hear a scolding voice in my head “shoulding” me, as if I were a child. It felt inside like someone was shaking a finger with displeasure in my face. At those times, I have tried to stop the should and ask myself, “What do I want to do?” "What will benefit me or help me reach my goals?" After all, I do have a choice!
Another example is when I choose something that I later decide was not such a great choice. I am tempted to think, “I should not have…” But there is no going back, so “should not” is destructive. Instead I am trying to ask myself, “What would I like to do differently in the future to get the results I want?”
It's time for me to be honest about what I REALLY want, not what I think others wanted or expect from me.
If I don’t legitimately want to be healthier, maybe the first place for me to begin is not with a diet, but with an honest look at how I feel about myself. (Idea: Look yourself in the eye, in a mirror, and say, "I love you unconditionally, right now." How do you feel? Hmmm. Can you do this every day for 30 days?)
We are complicated people, but I have found that change can only begin when I am honest with myself and loving to myself. Life is a journey and God has given me the free will to choose. He invites me to grow, no to blossom, but even He does not SHOULD me. He extends an invitation and then waits with grace for me to make my choice.
Today is a great day to make healthy choices not because you "should", but because you want to.
May you have a should-less day!