I probably couldn't keep count of the times in the day when I use these words: should, would, could. I should have done this. I could have done that. I would do this, but I can't or won't.
But do you ever think about the POWER of those words?
What does it mean to say that "YOU SHOULD"? What is the power behind that phrase? It wasn't until I went through therapy this year that I was asked to look at that. It's something I said to myself constantly. "SHOULD" is the s-word. Should says that you are expected to do or be something that you are not. Should says that you aren't doing it currently, but geez you are supposed to be! Boy, you really aren't at your best, are you? You SHOULD be more. You SHOULD be better. Yikes! Behind the word should is often a belief or decision that you may want to question. When you say this S-word, ask yourself what you felt you SHOULD be and why did you think that?! Who says!? Who told you that you SHOULD?
Let's look at when we say it. Sometimes [if it's a task that you were given] you'll catch yourself saying damn! I should get that done! Really you're saying shit, I forgot about that! It's on my list! I better get to it before I forget. It's still a demand on yourself. It's still an expectation and something you're supposed to do although perhaps a legitimately time sensitive issue. Should is a future task that asks us to do something soon or in our future.
It's when we use should towards ourselves that we need to examine what we inwardly said, thought or felt that it can be questionable.
If we look at Should's cousins- WOULDA COULDA- we're travelling on a similar path. Woulda is the power-less version of Shoulda. Shoulda feels bad because he couldn't do it or feels he NEEDS to. He woulda but he just isn't able. It's not possible, he just isn't capable. I wistfully wish that I could be or do enough to have done it, or been able to achieve it, but I just wasn't capable or didn't think of it. It's always a past issue. I would have done X but I did Z. If only I'd had XYZ then I could have done ABC. It's a sense of lack. A sense of regret.
How about "Could"?
I could have this if I just... I could be this if I just... I could do this if I just... This could be great if... This could be terrible if... It could have been better. It could have been worse. Could is that silly space where we consider the possibilities that didn't occur, or that may occur if we consider them.
My therapist asked me to pay close attention to how I use my words. I'm famous for self-deprecating language and saying things to myself or at myself that can totally undermine my own personal efforts. Someone will ask me how my day is and I will answer "ask me later!".. like I haven't decided how it is yet! Or I'll tell myself that I should be finding more time, or that I would have more if I just did this, or that if I could just settle for less-or if I could have more- that I would be happier.
Semantics are everything.
You better believe it!