Like you, I too have thoughts that don’t serve me in any positive way. Alot of these thoughts are usually centered around the things I am NOT doing. We have a default setting – mentally and emotionally – that immediately reverts to reacting and responding to what we have not done, didn’t do well enough, could be doing more of.

Do you get my drift? Let me give you a few examples.

  • I should exercise more
  • I must eat differently
  • I have to save more $$
  • I need to see my friends more
  • I must be more attentive to my children
  • I should work harder
  • I have to do better, look better, act better!
  • I should have a better job

What this all boils down to is what you think you SHOULD do. Recently I read about the idea of ‘should’ in Nick Ortner’s book, The Tapping Solution. The word SHOULD  is a thought so engrained in our staple vocabulary that we don’t even realise it’s actually heavy with self-deprecating, put-down, negative emotions. Reading his words I felt thrilled to see, in print, a theory I work with on a daily basis for both myself and my clients.

We feel guilt, shame and regret around most of the emotions that relate to what we THINK we SHOULD be doing/saying/acting/being.

My nieces and nephews learnt from a very young age how to identify ‘put-down’ words. Often we’d be playing and in the spirit of silliness I would say something like “Oh, I can’t do that. I wish I could, but I can’t. It was always such a confronting experience to hear my 3 year old niece say “Auntie Claire, those are put down words, don’t say that to yourself”.

But we do it. All the time. We always put ourselves down, wrap ourselves cosily in put-down words and getting up close and personal with the idea we are not enough or we don’t do enough.

It’s overwhelming. It’s stress-inducing and It’s limiting.

Here’s an idea on how to reframe that perspective.You have the power. You have the choice.

Step 1:

Look to those feelings that you have and truly identify what you care about and what matters – where did those thoughts/feelings come from?

As an example – you might think, wow I SHOULD exercise more. If that is because you KNOW you need more exercise or it has been a personal goal then roll with that. I’m not dissing motivation, whatever form! However, if you sit with that, the feelings that came up within you and realise that what actually came up was a feeling of insecurity – comparing yourself, putting yourself down, getting caught up in what you aren’t instead of what you are – then perhaps this isn’t a true heart’s desire, or something of great importance. What I mean is this – yes, exercise is important but it (and everything else) has to come about because you feel to do it. Not because someone else’s lifestyle has left you feeling disappointed with yourself and therefore not good enough. The problem is we tend to go down the ‘should’ path mentally, inviting all these negative feelings and energy in and yet we still don’t respond by actually DOING what we are SHOULDING about. Get me?

Therefore your energy shouldn’t be going into creating stress around something you aren’t going to do, or don’t truly desire.

But, here’s the rub – maybe what came up help you to realise that actually you DO want to do more of that stuff. Well, here’s when we have to reframe in order to turn that should into a do…

Step 2:

For the things that you do really desire reframe your mind set into positive, affirmative language.

  • I CHOOSE to exercise more.
  • I CHOOSE to eat differently.
  • I CHOOSE to be more attentive.

You switch your perspective from putting yourself down and judging what you don’t do into allowing yourself to OWN what you want. It’s in your hands. You empower yourself through those words.


Now, for the items that you don’t feel you need to change (maybe as you explored your feelings you realised that you are CONTENT with what you do already and that’s perfect, as it is) In those moments when you catch yourself thinking a ‘SHOULD’ thought take a moment and reframe it: E.g…

  • I exercise enough
  • I eat well
  • I am attentive
  • I am enough

Then look at how those statements FEEL for you. Where do they sit, physically, in your body. Do you believe them?

The funny thing about our own ’emotions’ is that they are often masked by our ego. So even when we’ve convinced ourselves that we are happier with our live how it is, sometimes when you try and bring them to life you realise you don’t actually really believe the.

So if you don’t believe them go deeper and ask WHY?

  • Why don’t you believe them?
  • What comes up for you – memory/past negative experiences/comparing yourself?

Step 3:

Tap on it!

If the ‘should’ that you are working on is so engrained and you find that as you do deeper it’s so difficult to find your truth on the subject (what do you really want, believe and FEEL?) then click on the below to learn EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) and tap your way through the block until you clear it.


You could start with an opening statement (this will make sense when you watch the video) like this:

‘Even though I’m so hard on myself and I think I should do X… I deeply and completely accept myself

Even though I want to do X but I never do… I deeply and completely accept myself

Even though I’m so caught up in what other people do…I deeply and completely accept myself”

Remember this. Choosing is EMPOWERING. You own your feelings. They are created from a conscious place. A place of deep wisdom and truth. It’s this knowing coupled with mindfulness that will allow you to reframe your perspective and retrain your negative thought patterns. You have to willing to go there and get a little messy.

What ‘should’ thoughts bash about in your head?

In the comments below tell me 1 KEY ‘should thought’ that is on repeat for you and re-write your reframed personal phrase.

I can’t wait to read your comments.

love + light,


*Image credit

*Image credit



  1. Great! I should be kinder to myself. I have started to lately and that's why I came across your webpage 🙂

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