So further to last week’s perhaps somewhat unsanitary discussion, dealing with a shouldy mess can often be as straightforward as changing the words we chose to express our thoughts and feelings. This might sound too ridiculously simple to be true, but to that I say perhaps not, seeing as we interpret, process, and then respond to pretty much everything in the world based on the specific word choices we use, either aloud or in our heads. Ah the philosophy of language…. And there’s my undergraduate minor leaking through…

Anyway, we do have a few of said alternate word choices to choose from. These are words like prefer, would like, or would be nice. I’m sure there are more, but let’s start with those.

Putting this into practice looks a little something like this:

Preference #1- Preferences of Self: I prefer to succeed, do well, and get approval and affirmation, but even if I don’t I am still worthwhile and I will treat myself with kindness and compassion and accept myself for who I am.

Preference #2 – Preferences of Others: I prefer that you treat me reasonably, kindly, respectfully, and lovingly, but since I don’t, and will never, be able to control you (no matter how hard I might try), I will accept that you too are an imperfect human being whose nature, like mine, is to err.

Preference #3 – Preferences of Life: I prefer that life be easy, fair, and free from difficulty or challenge, and although sometimes it’s quite upsetting and frustrating that, in fact, it is not, I know I can handle and endure frustration and still find significant joy and fulfillment in life.

Let’s assume you take the above suggestions to heart, and thus greatly reduce your anxiety, depression, anger, hostility, and frustration. What’s next? Well, without all of those shoulds getting in the way you will more easily experience love, joy, connection, and fulfillment in life.  Is there such thing as a quadruple word score?