Monday, June 27, 2011
Aw man, I just got “shoulded” on
The word “should”… it has become a nemesis of mine. Few words that are so seemingly benign have the ability to make suck away your power and instantly squash your flow of authenticity (there is that word again) as does the drop of the word “should”. Sure, there are other more ostentatious and blatantly harmful words that “should” doesn’t hold a candle to (e.g. racial slurs, profanity as adjectives, yo’ momma jokes, and words like “stupid”) but “should” is a sneaky mo’ flicker that puts you in your place without you even realizing its effect. “Should” implies there is a right way that differs from what is right now; that what I am doing now is insufficient, not the best path, not right. The word “should” is not only limiting by setting parameters of what is the best way but is almost chastising and even demeaning. The inclusion of the a “should” in a statement changes the tone and transforms the message from one that presents alternative options to “your instinct is defunct so let me make the decisions for you”. I know, this seems like a lot of power and responsibility to hang on a single word, but I feel the word kind of deserves it. It’s a “should”-talker.
We owe it to ourselves to trust in our own instinct and decision making skills by listening to what lies within us. This is not to say that we instinctually hold all of the information within us and that we can skate through life without valuable input from those who have greater knowledge or experience, but it is up to each of us to take all of that information into consideration and make the best decisions for ourselves. Because no one knows what is best for you other than you (even if it does get “need-to-change-my-shorts” scary) if you are honest with yourself with good intentions and you truly listen. It is all in there within you. And who better than you have your own best interests in mind?
This diatribe sounds like it is instructing you to stand up against other who try to tell you what to you, but I believe the biggest culprits of “shouldload” dropping upon us is in fact ourselves. Sure, friends, family, experts, bosses, even baristas-come-family therapists impart their opinions in terms of “should”, but we do the most of the “shouldding” in our lives. How often do we change make up our minds because of an expectation we have of ourselves or, even worse, that we assume others have of us? Not that they actually do, but we make a choice based upon what we think will impress others most.
“I should visit my aunt”
“I should get to work early since my boss will be there early”