Note: This is the 3rd post in the series Resolution 2013—a whole year to focus on treating ourselves more lovingly. Talk about personal transformation! (For those of you who missed it, need a refresher, or are new to Simple Pleasures, Everyday Love, you may want to click here, here & here first.)

Powering-up our Self-Talk

(Another trick of the self-love trade)



Live Life Well



Did you ever notice that when we hold a rigid approach to our goals or rules about how life should be lived, life can feel like a long laundry list of shoulds?


     I should eat more greens.


     I should paint the laundry room.


     I should have more money.


     I should exercise every day.


     I should be a better mother/father/spouse/daughter/friend.


     I should scrub the grout in the shower with a toothbrush.


     I should love myself more.


     I should floss every day.


     I should be more accomplished in life.


     I should clean out my garage/closet/sock drawer/basement/trunk of car.


     I should have matching coffee cups.


     I should _______________.


See what I mean? Just rattling those off I’m practically on the verge of hyperventilating.  The should-haves & should-bes & should-dos can really pile on the recrimination.


Whenever the "shoulds" start stacking up, I remind myself of this:


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Remarkably, like the stillness offered by Roatan’s Caribbean coast, this little phrase acts as a pressure release valve every time.



In all circumstances, you can remain at ease in the world when you no

longer believe in this moment that things should be different than they are.

Byron Katie



Then, after a deep, calming breath, I accept what is for now & get back in the swing of gently replacing all of those draining little “shoulds” with powerful big “coulds”.


Here, try it out for yourself:


I should be kinder to myself.


I could be kinder to myself.


Doesn’t that feel just a wee bit better? And kinder too; when we drop the “shoulds” of life, the world becomes a kinder place.


At first it may just seem like silly semantics (I thought that too), but hear me out. Sometimes subtle shifts can make a significant impact.


“I should” is a bully burden we impose on ourselves, an emotional drain that weighs us down. Over time this can produce an undercurrent of low grade anxiety. As if scolding us, “I should” indicates that we are somehow perpetually falling short. That we aren’t enough.


With a basis in inadequacy, “I should” attempts to guilt us into action. And it often “works” just enough to fool us into believing that guilt is an acceptable motivator.


“I should” is a subtle, unconscious saboteur of energy–the very energy we use to realize our “coulds”–and over time can exact a price of heaviness, exhaustion & stress.


Conversely, “could” suggests we have a choice, and choice is freedom. “I could” is energizing & empowering. It tells us something is within our reach. It provides us hope to meet each “could” with passion and enthusiasm. It is a reminder of what is possible, plausible & true. “Could” focuses on our ENOUGHNESS.


(Btw, the same principle can apply to the phrase I need to. Try this on for size instead: I want to. And how about switching up I can’t with these three magic words: How can I?  This “play” on words strikes me as a fabulous practice to teach to children.)


Now maybe you’re of the persuasion that this is all a bunch of bunk. Please don’t take my word for it. (HA! Get it?) You should could try it out for yourself. Just be sure to do it long enough for it to catch fire.


Why settle for should when we could have could?  Let’s catch our shoulds, turn them into coulds & give ourselves some peace.




Thank you for your comments—behind every one is a fascinating person & story. I love our moments of sweet, honest exchange about things that fill life with meaning, beauty, love & connection.

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It's Happy in Here (TM) (Series) |  How to Be Happy:  22 Tips to Everyday Bliss by Cindy O'Krepki

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