“You could do this” is often better than “You should do this.”
‘Could’ comes without the judgment that one option is better than another.
“Could’ offers the choice of the things we really want to do.
“Our ‘shoulds’ are often driven by external expectations and social norms. Often they aren’t in alignment with what it is we truly want to do.” —Margie Warrell
SHOULD versus COULD:
We often hear: “You should do this” or “You should do that.” But often a better approach is, “You could do this” or “You could do that.”
We often hear such statements from sources of authority. We hear them at home, school, work, etc. We tend to internalize all these ‘shoulds.’ If we do not follow through with them we can feel guilty.
Using the word ‘could’ instead of ‘should’ can have a positive effect.
COULD COMES WITHOUT JUDGEMENT:
In an interview, Margie Warrell, an Australian author, speaker and media commentator made this suggestion. We can use ‘could’ instead of ‘should.’
Often the rules, that we are living by, are derived from what people have told us we should do. Our ‘shoulds’ are often driven by external expectations and social norms. We make decisions based on what others have told us is the correct thing to do.
Often these are not in line with what we want to do. This can lead us to feeling frustrated. In such cases we can ask ourselves why we are frustrated. Are you doing these things because you think you should and not because you want to? Perhaps it is not aligned with your deepest values.
Margie suggests that we use the word ‘could’ instead of ‘should.’ ‘Could’ comes without the judgment that one option is better than another. Instead of thinking I should study, think, I could study. This takes away the judgment. We can decide what it is we truly want to do.
This helps us challenge rules that box us in. It gives us the choice of the things we really want to do.
When working with youth, be careful of using ‘should.’ when ‘could’ would likely more effective.
This small change could have a large and positive effect.
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