There was a lot of press awhile back about the verbal bad habit of women apologizing or undercutting themselves before speaking. For example, “I’m sorry to bother you but…” Or, “Maybe this is stupid, but…” I was totally guilty of this at the time. I didn’t feel confident in my business abilities and inadvertently broadcast that fact by using this type of apologetic speech. Once it was pointed out to me, I cleaned up that habit.
More recently, women have been advised to stop using the word “just” to devalue their own messages. “Just wanted to check and see if you’re available for a meeting.” Instead, we ought to speak from a position of strength, “When are you available to meet?” Again, I was a bit annoyed at myself for being guilty of using “just” in this way. Now that I see it, I don’t do it any more.
I propose another adjustment to the way we, as women, speak - especially to and about ourselves. I submit that we eliminate that word “should” from our vocabulary. “Should” is an insidious little word. At first glance, it doesn’t seem like a big deal. There are certainly worse words. But “should” is a tiny seed of self-doubt, a quick reminder that you’re not good enough as you are. It is a single serving of perfectionistic criticism.
- I should be more patient.
- I should do better at saving money.
- I should be more disciplined with my diet.
- I should be a better mom.
- My house should be cleaner.
- I should floss more often.
- I should blah, blah, blah. We must stop the madness.
Says who?! To who’s standards are we trying to live up? Every woman I know really, really deserves to cut herself some slack and be reminded how fabulous and wonderful she is. Right now. With her current children, bank account, thighs, and dust bunnies.
“Should” postpones your happiness. It suggests that you can find joy only after that “should” has been accomplished. If your house never gets any cleaner or you never again fit into your skinny jeans (which are an abomination, by the way), is your life is over? Of course not.
So ladies, I say we stop doing what we “should” do and follow our own hearts. Stop feeling bad about yourself for being less than perfect. (We’ll talk about the word “perfect” later.) Let’s adopt the mantra, “Good enough is good enough.” And banish the word “should” for good.