orShould is not Light Blog: Light Lessons with Patsie McCandless


Should is not a Light. As often as it is used, it is not positive, optimistic, encouraging, constructive or supportive. No. Should is used for just the opposite.

Should is not a Light. It is bossy and judgmental. No Light there. It’s no wonder that, today, there are more and more reports of people of all ages, especially, children and teens, experiencing depression and anxiety.

Should in the Brain is not a Light

Frequently, shouldering on yourself or others dims your Light, Depression and anxiety arise because of that word: should. It is not only a negative word, but dangerously so. In your brain this one word sets off scores of stress-producing hormones and neuro-transmitters. Instantly, your brain switches to sustaining mode, meaning, the basic, automatic, primitive brain that keeps you alive. However, that also means that your brain is shutting off your logic, reasoning, and communication. You are in your emotional brain, which is why you experience heightened levels of stress, worry, and anxiety.

Yes, from one simple word.

The brain of an anxious or depressed person works overtime on negativity, because negative thinking is internalized and kept alive by your brain, cycling and re-cycling your defeatist thoughts. This is why you feel even worse, the more you think about all your shoulds.

Take a look inside your brain – via Infinite Zoom: your Inner Universe – it’s a fascinating tour, showing you how all this is connected in the spirals of your microscopic DNA.

Should is Negative Thinking

Should works negatively on the thinker, the speaker and the listener, indisputably dimming your Light. Yet, time-and-time again, you use should unconsciously, that is, as part of your automatic habit-energy. It is one of words that you have installed in your everyday thoughts and words. You use it over and over, day-in and day-out, in your thoughts and your conversations.

You tell yourself: I should __________.

Even as you wake and snuggle in your bed, your brain may be ruminating: I should… get up… it’s time… I must shower … get dressed. And I ought to get going. I should get to work.

But all this does is make you feel worse. Should truly is not a Light. By the time you finally do get up, you’re in a very negative frame of mind – with all those negative hormones sliding into your neuro-transmiters. You have aimed this directly at yourself.

You also tell others: You should _________.

That person is the Listener –  often a spouse or a child. The Listener meets should with increased anxiety, moodiness and irritability. And, unfortunately, the Speaker of should has just lost the trust and co-operation of whoever the Listener is. When the brain of the Listener hears “should”, it gets so accustomed to it, that it automatically behaves negatively. Even worse, the more you engage in negative should, the harder it is to stop.

Physical Symptoms

The upshot is that significant negative, physical symptoms manifest in the body: memory loss, sleep disruptions, eating disturbances. Understandably, should is not a Light as it profoundly disturbs your happiness, fulfilment, and sense of well-being over long periods of time.

Any way you slice it, should and it’s cousins, oughts, and musts, are a form of negative thinking. It does not have to be a deep thinking. It often is not. It’s that old unconscious habit-energy. Yet it affects you deeply.

For example, this past year, so many worried about health and safety, not realizing that all those shoulds actually prompted the flow of destructive neuro-chemicals from the brain to the body. The same holds true, especially for children, as they experience more negative thoughts, they experience more emotional turmoil. Children are easily susceptible to fear in motion. 

You Can Thrive without Should

Dearie speaks about SHOULD in Becoming Jesse:

“Don’t say ‘should’ at all.

Turn your thoughts. Think of your gorgeous Lights.

‘Should’ is not lit up with those Lights, is it?

Let your Light guide you.”

Dearie knows that you can’t just stop saying that negative word. First you have to have something else in your storehouse of words. She gives Jesse some ideas to say instead:

“Instead of saying ‘should’, try something like,

‘Isn’t it great that we’re safe?

I love feeling the Light… loving me.’”

That does sound Love-ly! And there is a little trick to it: for each negative comment, you’ll need to generate at least three positive messages – silently or out loud – back to your brain. Have a little list to practice using words or phrases that give YOU control, for example: I’d… rather… or I prefer…  choose…  like ___ better… I’m partial to…. 

It’s always good advise to : Choose your words wisely. Speak slowly and deliberately.

This is how you interrupt the brain’s tendency when it is receiving negative messages.

Repeating positive words (love, kindness, empathy, peace, compassion) actually turn-on the good nucleic acids in your chromosones, which, in turn, lower your physical and emotional stress.

Also, it’s important to know that even a negative facial expression – like a frown or a swag of the head – generates the same level of negativity to your brain. So, smiling – genuinely – is just as important to your well-being, if you want to truly flourish.

“Dearie’s smile always felt like a blessing.”

And as she would add, “Let all the words on your tongue taste… delicious!”

Yes, Dearie teaches Jesse her Light lessons to help him turn up his Light, feel better and create deeper, more trusting connections with himself and others.

You can, too.

Light On!