Did you know that you talk to yourself almost all the time? Whether or not you are aware of your thoughts, our brains are working constantly. The things we tell ourselves have a direct impact on our emotions.
One of the most detrimental words that we use is “should”.
To say we should do something indicates a duty, or that something is a must do. Generally, when people hear that they should do something, the rebel in them immediately goes for the opposite.
Potential adoptive parents might be hearing from friends and family the things they should be doing or feeling as they go through the process. They might hear or say to themselves, “You should be happy you don’t have to go through pregnancy”, or “You should be excited about your birth mother lead”, or “You should be grateful you were approved to adopt”. Expectant parents might hear or say to themselves, “You should let the adoptive family be in the delivery room”, or “You should be happy this baby will have a good home”, or “You should use this attorney or that agency”.
Are any of those statements really helpful? Be honest. Don’t they just feel heavy and dull?
What might be a better way to handle these heavy shoulds?
Try substituting the word “could” for every “should”.
For the grammar geeks out there, “could” is the past tense of the verb “can”, and it is used to express possibility. The word could gives you much more power, more of a choice, and takes away the urge to rebel. We all really do have the ability to change how we feel about our situations by changing what words we say to ourselves.
There is so much in the adoption process that is beyond anyone’s control.
Timing, what the expectant parents are thinking or doing, what the potential adoptive parents are thinking or doing, and family members’ opinions and actions are all things that are far beyond any one person’s control. Each of us can only control how we will react to any given situation. Feeling overwhelmed and down? Take a look at the things you say to yourself. If the “shoulds” are outweighing the “coulds”, do a little substitution and flip them around. Hopefully this will frame things in a more positive light.