Want to Be Happy At Work Part II? Stop Shoulding on Yourself.

August 17th 2015

In a recent post I mentioned Albert Ellis, the psychotherapist who was known for his disdain for “shoulding.” I talked about shoulding on others in that post. Now, we need to talk about shoulding on yourself, as in:

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“I should be making more money.”

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“I shouldn’t have said that to my boss.”

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“I should have handled my employee better than I did.”

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Shoulding on yourself is as unproductive as shoulding on others. It’s a waste of time and energy, because you give yourself no alternative to the should. There’s nothing proactive or well thought-out about “should.” It just sits there in your mind, judgmental and incomplete. Useless.

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But if you simply must should on yourself, and we all do from time to time, try extending the conversation beyond your initial statement. For example, instead of just saying, “I should be making more money,” take the conversation in your head farther. “Really? What makes me think I should be making more money? Who am I comparing myself to — the one percent or real people? What precisely am I doing to make more money?”

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Answering these questions allows you to gather important data, which allows you to make informed decisions and act on them. If you’re anything like I am, the question-and-answer process will relieve you of a bunch of negative self-talk about whatever challenge you’re facing. When you stop should-ing on yourself, you get more clarity. And that’s how you find a path toward positive change and happiness.

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happiness, communication, professional development

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