The should story-part 1

Posted on January 22, 2013

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The reason it’s so important to be mindful of your thoughts is that they are the foundation of your beliefs about yourself and the world. These beliefs create the stories that you live by. These stories, in turn, are behind all of your actions and reactions. 

Many of us don’t like our stories to be questioned. Our stories are part of our identities, the “shoulds” that run our entire existence and challenging them is like challenging the core of who we are (or who we think we are). So a lot of times, when I teach Byron Katie’s story-challenging tools to clients, I come up against some resistance. 

I get that and I get why. You’re not really that invested in changing. That’s your story and you’re sticking to it, no matter how miserable you may be.

But if you’re tired of being miserable, then you’ve got to get to a place where you are at least willing to entertain, if just for a few seconds, that your story may not be true. That much of what you’ve been told and what you’ve been taught has been based on the stories that other people have told you.

How can you tell if you’re stuck in a story? You’re arguing with reality. How can you tell if you’re arguing with reality? You’re using the word “should.”

If you want to start somewhere, and you’re not ready for story-shifting, start noticing how many times you start a sentence in your head with “should” in it.

-He should have called me back.

-My boss should have given me a raise.

-I should not have gone to that party.

-I should have saved more money.

“Shoulds” are part of your personal story. When you hear yourself think or say this word, realize that you are starting to tell yourself a story that has been formed from your belief system. The word ‘should’ is a clue into your personal habits of thought.   

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Posted in: Habits, Thought Work