Have you ever noticed how you talk to yourself? How often are you thinking with the cloud of doom, or fire of frustration?

If you find your self-talk being the voice of Negative Nellie — the voice of adversary, negativity, and pessimism, who counters your happiness and self-fulfillment — you may also find yourself using the “should” word.

Yes, Shouldward is Negative Nellie's downtrodden cousin. Shouldward tells you how you “should” be better, you “should” have done something different. You “should” do more or less, or “should” be here or there.

Shouldward instills feelings of failure, contrariness, and invalidation. Shouldward can erode self-esteem and relationships.

Counter Negative Nellie and Shouldward with reframing and changing the language in self-talk. Tell Nellie what you can do, point to pleasing positives. Identify what goes right and acceptable in life.

A change of language such as “I could” and “I might,” puts Shouldward aside. Accepting things from the past that Shouldward tells you to do wrong, gives an opportunity to learn and make choices differently today and tomorrow.

Just say: “Oh, Shouldward. I chose to count blessings in each and every moment.”

Positive self-talk builds feelings of confidence and appreciation not only for yourself, but for those around you.

Looking for the blessings in life, the beauty of God's creations, and how we can be a blessing to ourselves and others will allow the sun to shine through the cloud of doom, and extinguish the fire of frustration.

Now Nellie and Shouldward should just go run and play.

— Linda Yearout

Linda Yearout lives in Wellington, and is a licensed clinical marriage and family therapist for Hope’s Place, of Wichita. Contact her online at www.hopesplacecounseling.com