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  • Writer's pictureJo Leccacorvi

The Problem with Using the Word ‘Should’

During perimenopause, the word ‘should’ can be a loaded term, laden with expectations, judgments, and often, unrealistic ideals.


“I should have more energy", "I should be more productive", "I should handle stress better", “I should be healthier”, “I should do more exercise”, “I should do more fun things with the kids”, “I should eat less sugar”, “I should be happier”, “I shouldn’t feel sad”, “I shouldn’t feel angry”, “I should eat more vegetables”, “I should do more meditation”. Are you exhausted by these ‘should’ statements yet?



Why ‘Should’ is Problematic for Perimenopausal Women

The problem with the word ‘should’ is it implies a sense of failure or inadequacy. It places unnecessary pressure on you during a time when hormonal fluctuations may naturally affect focus and efficiency. Perimenopause can amplify stress levels due to hormonal changes, making it unfair to hold yourself to unrealistic standards


Using the word ‘should’ during perimenopause can exacerbate feelings of inadequacy, frustration, and self-doubt. It sets an arbitrary standard based on external norms or outdated beliefs about what women ‘should’ be capable of during this phase of life. Moreover, it fails to acknowledge the unique challenges and experiences that come with hormonal shifts, leading to feelings of isolation and misunderstanding.


Three Reasons Why ‘Should’ is problematic


1.    It’s Critical

‘Should’ often implies a sense of urgency or necessity, adding unnecessary stress to an already tumultuous time.


2.    It’s Demotivating

Constantly telling oneself what they ‘should’ be doing can drain motivation and lead to a cycle of guilt and self-criticism.


3.    It Isn’t Real

‘Should’ is based on external expectations rather than individual needs and realities, creating an unattainable standard that only serves to breed dissatisfaction.


Alternatives to ‘Should’


1.    Ask Yourself Why

Instead of blindly accepting ‘should’ statements, dig deeper to understand the source of these expectations and whether they align with your values and priorities. For example, "I should lose weight", are you saying this because its something that you want or is there an external pressure?


2.      Replace ‘Should’ with ‘Want’

Shift the focus from external pressures to internal desires by reframing ‘should’ statements as preferences or aspirations. For example, changing "I should exercise more" to "I want to exercise more" gives the statement more meaning and it aligns it to your values and goals.


3.    Remove it Completely


Challenge yourself to communicate without using ‘should’ altogether, fostering a mindset of acceptance, flexibility, and self-compassion. For example, when you change "I shouldn't feel sad" to "I feel sad", you are acknowledging how you feel rather than pushing the feeling away.


Recognising the impact of ‘should’ statements and adopting alternative approaches can help you to shift your mindset and discover your motivation and show yourself some kindness and self-compassion. These two elements are crucial during perimenopause.


If you are struggling with changing your mindset shift and is stopping you from reaching your health goals you can book in for a free call with me for a no obligation chat. Click here to book.

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