• Kristina Cherep

The One Word My Therapist Doesn’t Like Me Saying

Updated: Apr 18, 2020

this pic is an oldie, but a goodie :)

Well, I’m sure there are several things my therapist wish I didn’t say or think... when referring to negative self-talk! There are the obvious words like “stupid”, “failure”, “not good enough”, etc.. There are also some not so obvious negative self-talk words I wasn’t aware of.

I should have this job. I should not feel this way. I should go to that event. I should think the way everyone else thinks. They should not have done this to me. I should... SHOULD SHOULD SHOULD.

If ya haven’t figured it out by now, the word my therapist doesn’t like me using is should. In fact, if she’s reading this post right now then I bet that last paragraph made her cringe... sorry! The first time she called me out on using this word and told me to stop using it, I laughed because I was never taught that should was a bad word. Should wasn’t a bad word in my eyes. However, I learned when using it the wrong way it can be very harmful to your mental health and your life in general.

I have my degree in Elementary Education, so I should be a school teacher for the next 30 years. I have a great relationship with my partner and supportive friends, so I should be happy. I should go to this party, so they don’t hate me for not going. I bent over backwards for them, so they should be nice to me.

These are the harmful shoulds I’m talking about! It’s bad when you’re doing things or making decisions only because you think that’s what’s expected from you. Before my hospitalization I seemed to be living the perfect life; new college graduate, newly wed, new home, etc.. However, I really wasn‘t. I was living the life that was expected from me. Or at least what I thought others expected from me... because I also learned I can’t read minds! (No matter how many times my anxious thoughts tell me otherwise)

It wasn’t until I was in my deepest low where I realized I had been living a life that I thought people expected from me. Some of it I wanted, but some parts of it I was too scared not to have because of the fear of being judged. One of my challenges I have been working on, for almost two years now, is not worrying what others think of me because at the end of the day it doesn’t matter. It’s important to consider other people’s feelings, but it’s not okay to plan your life out based on what you think others expect or want from you.

Of course, should is not completely out of my vocabulary. There are times to use it and then there are times where it’s dangerous. I want you to listen to see if you overuse this word in a negative way. Try not to use it... it’s hard! Butttt it also helps to decrease negative self-talk.... I would say so you should try it, but I won’t!