Should and Need are two of the most dangerous words in the english language.
Here are the reasons SHOULD is so dangerous:
- It instantly sends a message that you feel like you’re obligated to do something that deep down you don’t want to do or that is in conflict with who you are and what you believe.
- It comes from a place of ‘I know better’ than you
- It makes you compare yourself to others who you already see as better than you, making you feel like crap.
- It sends a message to yourself that what you’re doing isn’t good enough
- It comes from a place of fear of inadequacy
Here are the reasons NEED is so dangerous:
- It convinces you that you are not whole or good enough as you are
- It gives your power to something outside of yourself which could easily be taken away from you
- It comes from a place of fear and scarcity
So what can you do about them?
- Stay alert!
The first thing to do when it comes to breaking any bad habit is to notice the habit. Something as simple as keeping an ear out for when you start describing something as a ‘should’ or a ‘need’ will help you be more mindful about using these words.
2. Work out the underlying reason
Both ‘need’ and ‘should’ come from a place of fear and a narrative of inadequacy. One of the most powerful things that you can do is recognise when you use these words and work out what the narrative behind them is.
For example, you may feel you SHOULD buy a house/get married/have kids because you’re turning 30+. This is usually a comparison narrative that probably comes from a societal/family expectation around life milestones.
Similarly, sometimes you feel like you SHOULD be nice to someone you can’t stand simply because you’ve been told they’re powerful and important.
3. Say it with me!
Regardless of the things that you describe as ‘should’ and ‘need’, the underlying narrative is ‘I’m not good enough as I am’. This means that it’s time for a confidence boost and the best person to give it to you is…YOU!
So every morning, look yourself in the mirror and depending on which of these resonates most with you, say:
- I am enough
- I am worthy
- I am loving/lovable
Why it’s important to tackle these words!
When we act out of fear or obligation, we do so unwillingly which opens us up to harming ourselves in other ways. This is the concept of a spillover effect. We force ourselves to do something which takes A LOT more energy than if we genuinely wanted to do it and this harms us over time.
- It depletes you of energy you could spend on something productive and enjoyable
- It makes you resent the moment and can shape your perception of that thing or person to be negative in the future even where they may have been presenting you with a positive opportunity
- It makes you feel bad afterwards so you’ll look for something that will make you feel better which unfortunately is often something destructive or harmful because these are the quickest fixes. For example, you’re probably more likely to eat junk food, go on a shopping spree or try and escape into netflix, alcohol or some other escape