{#TransparentTuesday} Stop “shoulding” all over yourself

Editor’s note: These posts were written back when my brand name was Remodel Fitness. I’ve decided to include them here without editing them, in the interest of…well… transparency. 😉

I can’t stand the word “should.”


I wish we could all banish it from our vocabulary forever. Because “should” basically just means “according to someone else’s rules I’ve decided to either pursue something that I don’t really care about, or carry the guilt around with me everywhere for not pursuing it.”

Most women I know are constantly “shoulding” all over themselves. (Good phrase, right?) They let the “shoulds” they’re not acting on weigh them down with guilt, and the list is endless. This is a super bummer, because carrying around the weight of so many “shoulds” makes it literally impossible to be present, engaged, or satisfied with whatever you’re currently doing or being.

Should is the opposite of “want.” If you’re using the word should, then you have a misalignment somewhere. You don’t truly desire it, otherwise you would be saying “want” or “will.” I would much rather we start talking about what we desire, because your desires will lead you to a big, juicy, satisfying life. Should is a way of holding ourselves hostage with never-ending guilt; a way of making sure we NEVER feel good enough. Should is the ultimate, persistent self-criticism.

My main criteria for whether or not I do something isn’t whether or not I “should” do it. My criteria for doing or being something is simply this: will this make me COME ALIVE?

That question is an intense and accurate barometer for all the choices you make, because it brings your attention away from other people’s expectations. That question brings your attention directly to your deepest heart’s desires.

This is important, because each of us is an incredibly flexible, competent, and abundant creature. We can do whatever we set our minds to, and because of that, sometimes it’s hard as hell to know what to do. After all, if we wanted to learn a new language, or become a car mechanic, or start a business, or get married, or become a mathematician… we can do those things. But we can’t do all of them. We have to choose how to spend our finite time and energy.

Spend yours on stuff that makes you come alive.

Coming alive is what I call the feeling of excitement and gratitude that occurs when you are living a life aligned with your deepest values and heart’s desires.Coming alive means waking up excited, and going to bed satisfied. Coming alive means living every day with gratitude that you’re you.

Try this challenge today: eliminate the phrase “I should.”

Try turning it into “I want…” or even “I will…” Next time you have a decision to make and you find yourself asking “what should I do?” replace that question with the question: “What will make me come alive?”

I believe each of us was put on earth to come alive. Not just live, but truly come alive. I also believe that by pursuing those things which help us come alive, we help those around us become more alive as well. When we are truly alive, our light shines. When our light shines, we give other people permission to shine too.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this. Come on over to the private Facebook community The Women Who Empower Other Women, Unite! and share your insights, stories, or struggles. We are a community of women in the pursuit of coming more alive.

<3 Jessi Kneeland

PS In case you missed it yesterday, check out my free video in which I teach you How To Use Specific and Vivid Language to Get What You Want. (And there will be a new video tomorrow, so stay tuned for that!)

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