Are you a victim of “the shoulds?”

 Here is quick excercise that may help you identify thoughts that are getting in the way of living the life you want.  Look at the list below and fill in the blank with what ever comes to mind first. 

“I should be___________”

“I should never___________”

“I should always___________”

“I should not____________”

“I should have____________”

“I should know________________”

“I should love____________”

“I should care_______________”

“I should not have____________”

“I should not be________________”

“I should make____________”

Write down your responses and take a look at how you talk to yourself!  Is there room for change?  Could you be more self validating? self nurturing? less judgemental of yourself?   Are your expectations of yourself realistic?  Would you make the same comments about a friend? (She should………………)

Try to come up with some supportive, self nurturing alternatives to harsh “shoulds”.  For example, you may have responded to “I should be” with “I should be totally self reliant” or “I should never” with “I should never be tired or sick”.  Try:

“I am human, and I need others, it is not weak but wise to allow others to be supportive” , “It is not realistic to be totally self reliant”

or “Being tired or sick is not weak, but my body telling me I need rest or to slow down” , “I will respect my body”

The more you are able to refute the self judgemental, critical statements, the more room you make to validate yourself.  Be realistic about what you can change, and focus on what is truely important to you!


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