Imagine what would happen if that constant nagging voice that says, “I should get more work done, I should clean the office, I should take that new client, I should…” went away. At the very least, it would create a lot more empty space in our heads. Perhaps, it is exactly the space that is needed to be more inventive, to create a new from a blank slate like an artist who approaches his clean white canvas on which to create his masterpiece. I think most of us have become so accustomed to the voices in our head that tell us what we should do that we have forgotten that we get to choose.
The shoulds are like a software program that just keeps running, eventually we forget why we were running them in the first place; they simply runs us. Even when a should may have initially been put in place for a positive result, it eventually can become a hindrance, instead of a help. For example, if you decided you wanted a new job and you “should” give work 120% on this new job but a year has gone by and you are still giving 120%, your should program is still running you, and as a result, you are caught in a lifestyle that is exhausting and unsustainable.
The first step in winning the battle of the “shoulds” is awareness. If we are not aware of the programs that run us, how can we stop them? It is similar to when we first learned to drive and we had to pay attention to every detail: our foot on the gas pedal, both hands on the wheel, our attention focused on the road ahead of us. Now, when we drive it is as if we are on autopilot; we no longer have to think about how to drive the vehicle, in fact, we often eat breakfast, talk on the phone and browse the newspaper, all while driving. The problem with this is if we stop paying attention, eventually we have an accident. An accident is a hard way to get a wake up call. What if we started paying attention like our life depends on it, because it does. If we just start paying attention to our life we begin to realize, we have a choice.
Life happens and at a certain point, we forget that we chose it. Every moment of every day, we choose. If we are running our life based on shoulds, it never feels like a choice. What if we replaced every I should with I choose. The first thing that happens when we do this is we now have a discernment tool. We can immediately tell by replacing I should with I choose if something is in alignment for us or not, that is, if the reason we are doing something is for someone else or if it is in our highest and best interest. Creating this type of discernment in your life will lead to more time, more energy and the ability to make better choices.
Another interesting thing that happens when you replace I should with I choose is you immediately become empowered. I should is disempowering, it drains us, takes our energy away where I choose takes the power back, you are owning it, taking responsibility for your choice and bringing 100% of your energy to it. It is the difference between someone telling you to do something and you choosing to do something, even if the person telling you to do it is yourself.
Once you begin to liberate yourself from I should, you begin to experience a new kind of freedom. A freedom to choose your life and this, after all, is what life is about.