Photo courtesy of Chiot's Run - "O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree".

Photo courtesy of Chiot’s Run – “O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree”.

Lately I’ve been noticing how the people around me talk to each other.  And how I talk to myself.  I find that we all are saying a lot of “haves” and “shoulds”. For example, “I have to stay up all night and cook for Christmas” or “You should be doing something more productive.”

To the former, there isn’t a need for a “have to” in that sentence. Even if things seem as though you HAVE to do them, it’s a choice.  Just like going to work everyday.  You choose to go to work everyday so that you can pay your bills to support your lifestyle.  You don’t HAVE to.  It’s helpful to change the way you talk to yourself in those ways because it makes things that feel obligatory and monotonous inside of your control and choice.

To the latter statement, there isn’t a need for “should” to be in there.  Whether you are talking to yourself, a family member, or a friend, the word “should” is inherently a critical word. It carries with it a load of baggage of what you “should” be doing. It only intensifies anxiety or resentment towards oneself or others. If you eliminate it from your vocabulary, you may just find those negative emotions fade away and you will be able to actually make progress if you are instead compassionate with yourself and others.

Happy Holidays, everyone.  May it be free of “Have tos” and “Should dos”.