How Are Your “Shoulds?”

Nancy Kalina It’s been almost a year since I wrote my article entitled “Change Your Language. Change Your Life!” I received a lot of great feedback about that article. People appreciated learning how the language we use can determine how we see any given situation and, therefore, how we feel. I am including a link to the article here if you missed it.
Change Your Language. Change Your Life!

Think about all the “shoulds” you hear come out of your mouth or someone else’s each day. It’s staggering. Here are just a few examples:

  • “You should e-mail your mother.”
  • “He should respond to my e-mail.”
  • “They should stop smoking.”
  • “She should not quit her job.”
  • “My body should not feel this tired.”
  • “I should be able to do this.”
  • And the list goes on and on and on.

As life would have it, I have recently learned that while I may have changed my language and have certainly seen some changes in my life, I have also learned that changing your language is only the first step. It’s a great first step and I am thrilled that I took it. However, behind every corner there is another lesson to be learned. My lesson recently has been that while I am not saying “I should” or “they should” out loud, I may in fact still be saying it in my mind. Additionally, I may not even be aware that I am saying it in my mind, but I am “shoulding” with my energy. For example, I have learned that to say, “Honey, you should really sit up straight while you are at the computer,” is not useful nor is it any of my business how my sweetie chooses to sit at the computer. I am just being controlling when I express myself in that way. I completely get that. What I did not foresee is that even if I stopped saying those words, I might still be thinking them, creating a shoulding or controlling energy.

Spiritual teacher, author, and lecturer Marianne Williamson relates the story in one of her audios about the needy girlfriend who tells her boyfriend not to go away on vacation with the guys because he should be sensitive to her needs, etc. The boyfriend is clearly turned off by her neediness and controlling behavior. Williamson shares a scenario in which the girlfriend has moved forward with her controlling behavior. The boyfriend is getting ready to go on vacation with the guys, and the girlfriend doesn’t say anything about what her boyfriend “should do.” She doesn’t tell him not to go. She is simply quiet. She is still thinking all of her previous controlling thoughts — and creating should energy! Her boyfriend says to her, “Stop it!” And she replies, “What? I’m not doing anything.” He responds by saying, “I can just feel you leaning on me!”

Believe it or not, our thoughts are energy, and people and beings can sense our energy. Therefore, even when I am working on taking should out of my vocabulary, my next step in my own personal growth is to investigate my thinking and clean up some of those should thoughts and energy. Unfortunately, cleaning up our thoughts and energy is a lot more involved than dropping the language out of your spoken vocabulary. In order to clean up your thoughts, it’s paramount that you become aware of them in the first place.

With some help from a dear friend who is also a coach, I have assigned myself homework to do every evening. Join me if you wish. The homework assignment is to write in a journal every evening and answer the following question: “What tendencies did I notice today where I said — out loud, in my head or with my energy — should to myself or anyone else.” So, my first step in this process was to drop the language. My second step is to become aware of my energy and thoughts when they happen. After I document a thought or a time when I possessed and shared “should energy,” I will take on the responsibility of investigating my thinking by using life coach tools that I have learned. I am so grateful for the opportunities in my life to keep getting better and better in my journey to become the best version of myself.

How are your shoulds?

Did you should today?

Would you like to drop your should language, thoughts and energy to create a new perspective on life? Join me in this process, and write to tell me how it’s going.


Sharing Corner

Safe Space Life Coaching is gearing up to offer Caring for the Caregiver this fall. Enclosed is the flyer for the two teasers and the actual workshop! Join us and Wake Up the Vibrant, Sexy and Alive YOU with Global Dance Movement and Personal Life Coaching! For more information, check out the flyer and visit my website to register online at Reserve your spot NOW!

It’s summer time. In southern Indiana it’s warm and sticky at the moment. It’s a good time of year for some lovely cool snacks like ice cream! I am a huge fan of ice cream. However, I also try to eat healthy. I have found some delightfully cool, refreshing treats that are good for me as well. First, there is Red Mango, a frozen yogurt shop that we have in Bloomington. I just learned that the store that my partner and I frequent is one of the most profitable Red Mangos in the country. Honestly, I think it’s possible that Kim and I are a big part of their success! Their yogurt is delicious and feels really healthful, especially if you top it with healthy toppings like fruit. Second, our new find is Ben and Jerry’s Greek frozen yogurt. Can I say YUM? It’s really good and good for you. Check it out next time you go to the grocery store. They have regular frozen yogurt as well, but Greek frozen yogurt — which is strained extensively to remove much of the liquid whey, lactose, and sugar, giving it its thick consistency — has an undeniable edge. In roughly the same amount of calories, it can pack up to double the protein, while cutting sugar content by half (U.S. News Health).

Now, don’t misunderstand me. I will still treat myself on occasion to that lovely, full of fat ice cream as a treat. I don’t deny myself. However, it’s nice to know that there are tasty and healthy options!



It never ceases to amaze me how there is always a relevant lesson from Ralph Marston in my inbox as I am working through a lesson. Thanks, Ralph, for always reminding me that there are opportunities for learning every moment of every day!


Until next time,

Safe Space Life Coaching

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