Welcome to this week’s Relationship Wellbeing newsletter.
Continuing with our SELF-OBSERVATION practice, this week we are going to practice paying attention to two specific words … SHOULD & SHOULDN’T … and observe how often we think or say these words to ourselves and to others.

Years ago, when I was first asked to observe how often I say these words,
a) in my thoughts or self-talk, and
b) in my conversations with others,
I immediately said I don’t think I say these words very often at all! 😊

Well, I was in for a big surprise as I began to notice how often they popped into my thoughts and my conversations.

I realised that my first thought in the morning was often “I shouldn’t have pressed snooze” while my last thought going to bed might have been “I should have gone to bed earlier” or “I shouldn’t have stayed on my phone so late”, and these were bookended with many a ‘should’ & ‘shouldn’t’ throughout the day!

As I continued to self-observe, I was shocked to realise I was ‘SHOULD-ing’ all over not just my self, but everyone else aswell. I had been completely unaware of all the shoulds & ‘shouldn’ts in all my relationships.

What I also realised was that every time I thought or spoke ‘should’ or ‘shouldn’t’, I was JUDGING either myself or someone else. And whenever I’m judging, I’m not practising self-love or kindness or compassion. Each should/shouldn’t was a criticism, telling myself or someone else they could have done better!!!

Some of the many should/shouldn’t I noticed at first included:
“I/You shouldn’t have said that.”
“I/You shouldn’t have interfered.”
“I/You should have known better.”
“I/You should have called.”

By simply observing myself and becoming conscious of the should/shouldn’t in my thoughts and words, I began to choose kinder, more loving, more encouraging words and my relationship with myself naturally began to soften, becoming kinder and more loving with myself as each week passed. I found it an incredibly powerful practise, and still do.

As with all self-observation, remember KINDNESS IS KEY and if and when we notice our ‘should’ or ‘shouldn’t’, we practice seeing them with a kindness and a curiosity, simply creating a greater awareness of ourselves and how we speak with ourselves and others.

This coming week, with each should/shouldn’t we notice, create a tiny pause to check in with ourselves and ask ourselves …

– Is this should/shouldn’t a judgment or a criticism?
– How do I feel in response to hearing a should/shouldn’t from myself or another?
– Do I feel loved and trusted or judged and criticised hearing the word ‘should’?
– Am I showing trust or distrust or fear when I say the word ‘should’?
– Is my ‘should’ message to another communicating ‘I’m wiser/cleverer than you so I’ll tell you what’s best for you’?

And one particular ‘should’ remark that used to trigger me all the time was:
“You know what you should do now …”, before the person launched in with their own advice.
I’ve since learned that if I’m on the receiving end of this particular ‘should’ remark, I have an opportunity to practise not personalising the remark and instead recognise that the person speaking is only revealing themselves and their preferences and their ‘should’ is not in any way about me.
And if I hear myself about to say this particular ‘should’ remark, I have a wonderful opportunity to instead show my trust in the person’s own intuition and trust that they have the answers within themselves, encouraging them to check with what feels best for them.

Remember as we continue our SELF-OBSERVATION practice this week, the most important ingredient is SELF-KINDNESS and SELF-COMPASSION, all the time moving toward a more SELF-LOVING relationship with ourselves. Otherwise we will be judging ourselves for judging ourselves!!!

Remember, be gentle and loving with yourself.
Be your own best friend.

I would love to hear your experience with this week’s self-observation practice.

If you have any questions, just ask.

Wishing you a beautiful week of self-observing, self-love practice.


Steph x

ps If you would like to hear more about the beginning of my self-loving journey and my early & current self-loving practices, tune in to my PODCASTS @amazingmeamazingyou or join me on my Instagram page @amazing me amazing you