My Ink Dance

Discovering Extraordinary Grace in an Ordinary Life

The One Word to Eliminate from Your Vocabulary

I caught myself today. Much like recently when I was brushing my teeth, except this time I was out for a walk. Even when I manage to be quiet, sometimes the thoughts run like that ticker at the bottom of the news screen, never-ending and lacking the substance you really need.

Today the thoughts were running ahead of me. They were rolling one into another through all the things I wasn’t doing. And that’s when I realized, I want to eliminate one word from this one-sided conversation.

We say it all the time, but what if this one word is making everything worse? My Ink Dance shares this one word and what you can do instead!

Every thought was like a passive aggressive loved one, passing judgement without really saying what they mean. Luckily I caught it early, this time.

Are you ready for the thought?

I should be running.

Did you catch the word?

It’s sneaky and seemingly benign. Here, I’ll help.

I SHOULD be running.

Do you want to know what those six letters really said?

You’re not enough.

You’re not doing enough.

You’re lazy.

You’re out of shape.

You’re hopeless.

You’re never going to be better than you are.

You’re not enough.

No matter how hard you try, there will always be more. And the word SHOULD carries so much implication for who think you are, who others are, who you’re not, who you want to be. SHOULD is like a great ruler we hold up to measure and remind ourselves of our lack.

But what if there is no SHOULD?

What if we could choose? I am or I am not.

What if you eliminated SHOULD from your vocabulary? Click To Tweet

What if that’s enough?

I am not running.

It just is. It’s a choice. It’s a fact. There is no judgement lurking, no head shaking tsk, tsk, no excuse.

I am not running. FACT.

I should do the laundry becomes I am doing the laundry or I am not doing the laundry.

I should volunteer again at church becomes I am volunteering today or I am not volunteering today.

I should cook instead of get takeout becomes I am cooking or I am not cooking.

We say it all the time, but what if this one word is making everything worse? My Ink Dance shares this one word and what you can do instead!

We live our lives mentally punishing ourselves for the ways we think we miss the mark, when we are the ones holding the ruler and deciding what good is.

It’s time to let go. Time to be okay with our choices. Time to stop trying to be and instead just be. It’s time to let go of what we think we should be and embrace who we are.


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About Becky Hastings

I am emotional and logical. I am strong and dependent. I am a juxtaposition of head and heart exploring it all through writing. And in all my mixed-up ways I am loved. I’m here to tell you that you are, too. Just the way you are.

28 Replies

  1. I agree, should is a small word with a lot of power. I try to notice when I am using it and eliminate it too.

    1. Becky Hastings

      I’m glad I’m not the only one 🙂

  2. I have suffered from a bad case of the “shoulds” before. Now, if I hear them from others, I look for any grain of truth within and discard the rest. If I hear them from my inner judge, I run them through the filter of God’s word and find peace. Glad you are getting rid of the “shoulds” too.

    1. Becky Hastings

      Yes, yes, yes! Love the filter of God’s word!

  3. I will apply this lesson because I use should too often.

    1. Becky Hastings

      I’m so glad you found it helpful!

  4. You’re speaking good things, my friend. Glad you parked after me today at Jennifer’s. xo

    1. Becky Hastings

      🙂 Always fun to park next to you 🙂

  5. I am so a “should” sufferer and did not even realize it. Wow, you have totally changed my thinking in just two minutes. Guilt can eat us alive, steal our joy and make room for Satan to attack us on every front. Fighting back with the knowledge of who we are in Christ is not only liberating, but vital. Thank you for sharing your heart! Visiting from #porchstories

    1. Becky Hastings

      So glad this was helpful, and that you are here 🙂

  6. Should is a wag your finger at yourself word, and I do use it waaaay too much — and the truth is, if it’s something I truly SHOULD be doing, I need to just be obedient and go do it instead of shaming myself for procrastinating.

    1. Becky Hastings

      Yes! I agree 100% about the obedience and shame and procrastination!

  7. Amen, friend. There is freedom to be had here at your place today. Thank you! xoxo

    1. Becky Hastings

      Thank you 🙂

  8. Wise words here, thank you for sharing them. I replace ‘shoulds’ with ‘it’d be good’, it’s so much more grace-filled. Because there’s no way we can live without grace, in any form. Thanks again. God bless you!

    1. Becky Hastings

      I don’t want to sip grace at a cocktail party, I want to guzzle, wash myself in it daily!

  9. As a therapist I am often telling my clients to remove should from their vocabulary! It is building an arbitrary expectation on yourself based upon your own guilt and shame. And that never leads to growth.

    1. Becky Hastings

      You are so right! What a perfectly explained perspective!

  10. A word that carries so many shades of meaning. Yes, it is a word that needs to be eliminated from my vocabulary.

    1. Becky Hastings

      So glad you’re here Theresa!

  11. So true Becky! My prayer is to live in the moment and meet God exactly where I am, not where I think I should be but where I am today. Thank you for sharing!

    1. Becky Hastings

      Yes, yes, yes!

  12. This was awesome, you are so right. Should is a bad word and should be treated just like any other profane word. Christians are supposed to watch their tongues and so we should not use this word either.

    1. Becky Hastings

      There’s so much grace, yet we forget all about it! Praying grace covers all the “shoulds” today!

  13. Yahess. I first read this in Present Over Perfect and had never really thought of it before. It makes sense. Should is like an assumption and those never got me anywhere. Thank you so much for sharing this, Becky. I know many of us still need to remember it.

    1. Becky Hastings

      Present Over Perfect is on my TBR list! So glad these words blessed you today!

  14. This is excellent and such a simple way to get past the unrealistic expectations we set for ourselves. I’m sharing several places!

    1. Becky Hastings

      I’m so grateful you found this helpful (and share worthy!) Have a great day!

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