I believe that words in and of themselves have no meaning, that people give meanings to words. I also believe that our words, as they relate to the way that we look at things, create moods. Further, I have observed that the moods and emotions created by our words manifest themselves physically in our body and directly affect the action that we take or do not take. We create our own reality by the words we use to describe it.
I have listened to a lot of people who, reflecting on their life, express regret about something they did not do. Often they will say, “I should have done such-and-such”, which is akin to saying, “I need to do this”, or “I hope to do that.”
Expressing regret about what should have come to pass in our lives is an assessment, not a call to action. It is a judgment about where we are and nothing more.
How we speak has a lot to do with how we feel.
When I discover an unsettling yearning for something to be different in my life, I have found two questions to be very useful:
- “What do I wish to create?”, which puts me into a creative, idea-generation mindset.
- “What do I intend to create?”, which shifts me out of wishing and on to making the declaration necessary to take action.
When I say “I wish to create something” or “I intend to create something”, I am taking responsibility and accepting accountability to make something happen. Conversely, when I am ‘shoulding’, most of the time I am assessing myself negatively because I am not getting something done that I think I should be doing. It’s a negative assessment that depletes my energy and it doesn’t inspire me to take action.
Shift your words to shift into action.
As Yoda in Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back said to Luke:
“Try not. Do… or do not. There is no try.”
The Jedi Master is teaching his young protégé a lesson about choice and attitude, of course.
Stop dumping on yourself. Stop ‘shoulding’ on yourself. Make a choice to just do or not do. And move on.
Now it’s your turn.
Think about a situation in your life that makes you feel unsatisfied due to your own lack of action.
What sorts of ‘should’ words or judgments come to mind when you think about this situation?
Note how you feel physically as these judgments fill your mind.
Now release these thoughts and let the judgments go from your mind and your body.
Thinking about the same situation, allow your mind the freedom to explore what you wish to create and how you would go about creating it.
Note how your feel physically as you shift into this constructive way of thinking.
Center, and get clear about your intent.
Move forward out of your declaration.
How would shifting your thinking and focus help you live a more joyful life on purpose?