Words that demoralize also include de-moral-lies. Moralizing, as it turns out, is just demoralizing without the "de." Have you uttered a sentence today containing the word "should"? It doesn't matter if it was "I should" or "I shouldn't": "I shouldn't have another coffee; I should go to bed earlier; I should be good."
"Shoulding" yourself is an example of moralizing: trying to model your existence around rules made up by your mind — rules that your ego identifies with. Moralizing has nothing to do with happiness. It has everything to do with ego, and ego has everything to do with happiness traps (ego tries to grow and value itself through identification with, and acquisition of, labels, money, and material things to gain proof of a physical existence).
Ego is just a creation of our imagination. And if it's not real, it's not honest. So what's the alternative for the shoulds? I spent some time with a vegan friend over the weekend, so I'll use this as an example. I was explaining to her that I've noticed myself feeling more sluggish after my cappuccino-induced caffeine buzz wears off. I have two choices in how I express myself next. I could say:
"I should stop eating dairy" or I could use any of the following more specific (and honest) sentences: "I could try giving up dairy." "I want to try almond milk," or even, "I need to give up milk if I want to stop feeling crappy after my coffee." Any one of these three sentences is more connected to my truth than a shitty should.
I've spent the last five years studying happiness. My goal has been to translate psychology and philosophy into exercises for happiness. Through this process, I discovered that happiness means connecting well with existence (and other people) and that there are five ways (or muscles) that help you do it. In my book, The Happiness Animal, I describe honesty as the first of those conduits to happiness. Indeed, one man, my friend and mentor Dr. Brad Blanton, feels that honesty is so important that he has dedicated his life to helping clients exercise radical honesty, and he has written eight books and run countless workshops on the subject.
One of the main reasons honesty is so important is trust. Trust is important because happiness cannot exist without it. I ran an online survey to poll 700 people globally, asking them to choose the best definition of happiness. The list of definitions I provided was not intended to be exhaustive, but the poll results surprised me. I had taken one of the definitions from an online dictionary: "trust and confidence" and the majority voted this as the best definition of happiness.
This is less surprising when you take a look at the United Nations World Happiness Report, which reveals social trust is a strong determinant of life evaluations and a strong support for subjective well-being. The erosion of institutional trust in countries like Greece has led to exceptionally large well-being losses. But you can offset a lack of institutional trust by improving trust in your personal relationships. By being honest, you increase others' trust of you and vice versa.