It’s a word we hear all the time. From family, friends, strangers and even ourselves. “Should” is such a common word so why would I say it’s the new curse word? Some of the many things I am passionate about as a therapist are issues that impact our self-esteem. Read on to see why a word so simple can have such a negative impact on how you view yourself.
The Different Ways One Word Can Ruin Healthy Self-Esteem
Do others really know what’s better for you?
If someone says “you should read this book”, it sounds innocent enough, right? Actually, it’s pretty harmful. This person is assuming that they know you will like the book or benefit from it when they do not know for sure. They are assuming they have more insight into your life, schedule, wants, likes, and interests than you do. That’s crazy! Who knows what’s best for you more than you?!
Is there really a clear right and wrong?
If someone says “you should break up with your partner”, it may sound like they are being helpful in giving advice but, it’s not. The way people tend to interpret a comment like that is that not only does this person think they know what’s best for us more than we do for ourselves but it implies there is a clear right and clear wrong way to do things. Is it possible that this scenario is not black and white but actually has some grey area, too? Absolutely!
Judgement and criticism
Do you like the idea of being judged and criticized for your decisions? I didn’t think so! When people judge and criticize, it often comes out in a “should” statement. I’m sure you’ve probably been told “you shouldn’t do that” or “you should have done this”. When you heard that, how did you feel about yourself? Not good, right? You likely felt guilty, ashamed or like you did something wrong. The question I ask my clients is: is there really a golden rule that you were not following or was it someone’s set of standards or rules unique to them? You will find there are few times where there is an understood right and wrong (think laws).
Don’t “should” yourself
Lastly, but most importantly, be mindful of how often you say “should” to yourself. We are all guilty of judging and criticizing ourselves harder than others ever could. One of the dangers of negative self-talk is that we don’t say things aloud so we don’t always recognize that we are saying anything. “I should do this”, “I should not have done that”, “I should be this” are examples of self-talk that are based on judgment, criticism, and the assumption of a clear right and wrong. Is that helpful? No. Not at all.
How to replace “should”
We can try to rephrase things to eliminate judgment and the assumption of right and wrong. Rather than saying “you should read this book” try and say “you might enjoy this book”. Don’t those sound much nicer?!
To make sure you are communicating as healthy as possible to others as well as yourself, try viewing “should” as a buzzword. My clients are often hearing me make a small buzzer noise when they say “should”. It doesn’t take long before they stop using “should” and significantly reduce judgment, criticism and assumption from others as well as themselves!
Go To Counseling To Help With Self-Esteem!
Counseling can help with many issues that you may find yourself struggling with, such as: anxiety, depression, lack of coping skills, communication issues, relationship struggles, history of trauma, obsessive compulsive disorder, sleep issues, addiction, and so much more. Seeing a counselor can help you identify areas that you would like to work on such as self-esteem talked about in this blog.
Begin Self-Esteem Counseling in Katy, TX
If you are ready to find help for your mental health struggles, the therapists at The Counseling Center at Cinco Ranch can help! We provide therapy to people of all ages. To begin counseling in Katy, TX, follow these three steps:
- Contact our office to set up an appointment or to get more information about how we can help with self-esteem
- Meet with one of our caring therapists
- Build your self-esteem with counseling!
Other Therapy Services We Offer
Here at The Counseling Center at Cinco Ranch we offer counseling services in areas including: counseling for kids, counseling for young adults, teen counseling, couples counseling, eating disorder treatment, men’s issues, women’s issues, anxiety treatment, depression therapy, trauma counseling, family therapy, and group counseling. Our therapists strive to regularly post blogs with helpful information on a variety of mental health topics. To learn more about our therapists and our counseling services, please reach out to the Counseling Center today!