If you want to be happy and successful, there are eight words in the English language that you must avoid at all costs. Each of them has the power to destroy your dreams, and lead you into unnecessary suffering, disappointment, and hopelessness.
What’s scary about these words is not only the fact that we tend to be unaware they are embedded in our primitive ego thinking process, but the fact that we use them almost every day of our lives……totally unaware of how harmful they are.
I have spent many years of my life as a therapist and life coach listening to people talk about their lives, why they are unhappy, why success always seems to sit just a few inches beyond their grasp, and why the relationships they have with those around them always seem to be so filled with disappointment and conflict.
In each case, they were unaware that the source of their pain and suffering boiled down to the fact that their worldview, or understanding of how the world functioned, was based on one or more of these eight dangerous words.
When they understood the danger of using these words, and dropped them from their thinking and vocabulary, their lives immediately began to improve.
Let’s take a look at each of these eight words and examine the danger of using them in our lives. In the process we will gain insight into how we can more quickly move toward our dreams of a happier and more successful life.
The first is SHOULD or SHOULDN’T.
“You should eat your vegetables.” You shouldn’t smoke”. Personal “shoulds and shouldn’ts” are almost always grounded in the primitive ego belief that we need to be more “perfect”. Shoulds and shouldn’ts for “others” are always grounded in the primitive ego belief that “we” know better than anyone else in the universe what others “should or shouldn’t” say, think, behave, believe, or do.
Striving for perfection personally, or arrogantly assuming that ”we” know how others should live their lives will only create unhappiness and conflict for ourselves and in our relationships with those around us.
Thinking we can change others is an illusion. It immediately makes us powerless and frustrated when others ignore us. The only real power we have in life is the power to change ourselves.
When others change because they fear us, that is not real change. The moment the fear is gone they will revert back to being who they are. Our shoulds and shouldn’ts are always attempts to change the reality of “what is”. Trying to change the universe can make us very unhappy.
“My spouse is driving me crazy”. When we blame others for our own feelings, or for somehow “ruining” our lives, we are giving others the power to determine how we feel, and we are avoiding the responsibility of taking charge of our own lives. In either case, blame makes us emotionally and psychologically powerless.
If we have a headache, it doesn’t make any sense to tell the other person they should take an aspirin. Powerlessness is not a good way to achieve happiness or success in life. Powerlessness is an illusion we create for ourselves.
“ I’m a kind person. I deserve to be happy”. This is a powerful emotional feeling. Unfortunately, it’s another illusion that makes us powerless. It’s helpful to ask ourselves….”Really? Why do we deserve something? Who is going to grant our wish because we “deserve” it? Is that written down somewhere? Is it a “rule” of the universe?”
The only way we achieve things in life is because we work to make them happen. We take responsibility to create what we want. Deserving is a dangerous illusion that only makes us powerless and unhappy waiting passively for our wants to be met because we “deserve” to have them met……………somehow.
“My spouse should be loving and kind”. This is one of the most dangerous of the eight words. Our primitive ego is very self-focused and narcissistic. When it “expects” or wants something to be true, it immediately turns the expectation into a reality that “should” come true. When it doesn’t….because others can’t read our mind…..we are disappointed and unhappy.
Our expectation has been created in our mind! It’s an illusion that makes us powerless because others do not have the power to read our minds. Of course the moment we tell the other person what we “expected” of them, we are now back to the word SHOULD above.
“I assumed we were cooking on the grill for supper”. An assumption is a close cousin to an expectation. The same rules apply. Again, it is a primary creator of disappointment, unhappiness, and resentment. When we give voice to our assumption we are back in the land of SHOULD again.
“I’ll show them. Nobody should be allowed to treat someone like that!”. Revenge keeps us stuck in the past. As they say, the need for revenge only invites the object of our revenge to take up permanent, rent-free residence in our brain. Revenge makes it impossible for us to move forward and create the life we would like to live because all our emotional energy is consumed thinking about the revenge that we would like to get. Revenge is a powerful way to create a life of unhappiness and frustration. It quickly kills our dreams.
“ I can’t get up in front of an audience and speak. It’s too scary.” I can’t is grounded in the fear of failure born in perfectionism . When we say I can’t do something, it is nothing more than unconscious permission to not even try. We are powerless before the thought has even entered our consciousness. “I can’t” will shutdown success, create unhappiness, and make us powerless.
“I’ll try to come to your get together. Or, I’ll try to get the article ready by Friday.” I’ll try is simply a sneaky way of avoiding saying no to another person…. or ourselves. As Yoda once said….”No try….only do.” When we only “try” to accomplish something, we have already given ourselves permission to fail. I’ll try is a close cousin to I can’t, and it always makes us powerless to reach for our dreams.
As they say, if you want to be successful “Just do it!!”.
When these eight dangerous words are no longer part of your vocabulary, your life will be transformed. You can be happy and successful. You just have to give up the illusion of powerlessness and take full responsibility for your feelings, emotions, and behaviors.
So “just do it!”