Happiness Tips

Are You ‘Shoulding’ Your Way to Discontentment?

shouldThis Happiness Tip is simple, but HUGE!!

The scientific reason why

Psychologist don’t tend to agree on much, since they are coming from different angles; but one thing they do agree on is that one of our basic human needs is to feel a sense of autonomy. We are more happy when we have a sense of autonomy. That is; we feel that we are in control, or have a significant degree of control in our lives. Whether it is at work, in our relationships, or with our health. If we feel no autonomy, chances are that we will be feeling pretty crap on a consistent basis (aka: ‘out of control’).

The Happiness Tip

Be very conscious of your use of the word SHOULD. In fact I have worked on removing it from my vocabulary all together. Whether it is saying it to myself or to others.

Here is my reason why

When we say the words, or think the words, “I should…” we are automatically placing the control in someone or something else’s hands external to ourselves. I am not doing something because I chose to do it, I am doing something because someone outside of me thinks it is the best thing for me. But are ‘they’ right? It is the same as a thought or saying aloud, “I should do this because someone outside of me, is putting their influence on me.”

What do you prefer to be told? “Can you park your car in a different place?” or “You should move your car to another place.” I don’t know about you, but when someone starts shoulding at me I tend to get selective hearing, or do the opposite (which is my choice, and fulfilling my sense of autonomy).

One of the worst shoulding cases on the market

I talk about this in more detail in The Guidebook to Happiness; but one of the worst things we can tell ourselves when it comes to our emotions and emotional health (as my good mate Damo tells me) is to tell ourselves that we SHOULD not be feeling the way we do. This is a classic case of fighting a losing battle with reality. Regardless of anything else, we actually do feel a particular way. That is reality. The more time we spend fighting it, the bigger it gets, and the more time wasted not processing it. The best case is I am feeling what I am feeling, and now how can I process it and move into a more empowered emotional state. No should required or appreciated.

So my Tip for you

Be very conscious of your use of the word SHOULD. Remove it all together. Don’t use it on others or yourself. Do things because you personally CHOOSE to do them. They are your choices. You own them. You have autonomy and you are likely to be much happier as a result.

…And remember if you have any comments or questions for me, or topics you would like me to discuss, just hit the old ‘Reply to Sender’ button and let me know what you have going on. Love to hear from you.

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