In my presentation to a new group of Green Mountain participants on Monday, we spent a fair amount of time on the subject of negative self talk. The big question was how to change it. We’ve got a lot to say on that in our classes; you can read about changing negative self talk, too, on our website.
The day after that discussion, I found myself involved in a negative self talk session. One of the first ways to change negative self talk is to notice when you’re doing it. So I had a great success there!
My most current negative self-talk session arose from a book I’m reading on global warming and other ecological mishaps that involve the way we produce our food in this country. I’m not generally an alarmist when it comes to modern techniques/technology, but this book, along with everything else I’ve been reading/hearing about global warming, has me concerned. After I finish it, and do a little more research on the subject, maybe I’ll write about it here.
Back to my negative self-talk. That session began by me berating myself that as a nutritionist, I ‘should’ have known and acted on what the book reports long ago. After all, it isn’t anything new that the author is talking about. But rather than falling into a morass of despair over how my lack of awareness might have not only contributed to the problem, but — as any mother can relate to – also caused harm to my children, I realized that I was using the word ‘should.’
‘Should’ is a word that pops up a lot in our speech, and it very well may be one of the most destructive words in the English language! It carries the tone of someone telling me I’ve got to do something that often I don’t want to. The thesaurus lists equally unappealing synonyms like ‘have to,’ ‘obliged to,’ required to,’ and more. They all have the same implication: it’s not a need/desire/whatever that comes from within.
I’ve come up with a few good alternatives that work for me: want to, need to, choose to, would like to, feel better when, am happier when…I could probably go on for a while. But look at the difference in the statement “I should do…” compared to “I want to do…” or “I need to do…” or I am happier when I do….” Changes the whole meaning and the way I react to it.
You’ve probably heard the phrase ‘stop shoulding on yourself.’ It’s a good one!
Photo courtesy of and copyright Free Range Stock, www.freerangestock.com