Is should a regular part of your vocabulary? If you’ve popped over to sign my Crone’s Manifesto, you’ll know it’s one of those words I believe we must banish from our lives. But easier said than done, the damn thing is automatic. (I actually typed “…we should banish…” in that last sentence and had to edit it!)
Why is “should” so bad?
I think it hides from us what we really want. It starts with the same syllable as “Shush”. It lulls us to sleep. All those shoulds scurry around in our brains distracting us from our real life’s purpose. If I believed in a personal devil I would think he invented the concept. In many ways it’s more insidious than being actively nasty, because of that constant distraction. It makes us subservient to our thoughts.
What about necessity?
What about when we really have to do something?
Then we really have to do it, or face the consequences. If you fail to deal with your taxes, you’ll get into financial and possibly legal trouble. If you spend more money than you earn and don’t cut back, same story.
What about duty?
Duty is an interesting one, isn’t it? Perhaps it’s a loaded word for love.
For example I can’t imagine there’s a carer anywhere in the world who doesn’t sometimes begrudge their caring and long to run off to a desert island somewhere. But they still love the person they are caring for. It’s possible to hold those two concepts of resentment and love together in your heart.
And if you can’t stand your partner’s family and still see them every Sunday, that’s a consequence of love for your partner. (You still have a choice though: perhaps to negotiate a different pattern out of love for yourself, or to find new ways of relating to them.)
But if your so-called duty is to do with what people think of you, then that’s a very different animal.
How can “should” help?
When we find ourselves using should a lot, it can be a great signpost. Ask yourself these questions:
- What part of my deep self and my dreams is hiding behind this word?
- Who would I be if I didn’t use the word?
- What will happen if I don’t do this thing?
- When do I need to be of service to myself, not others?
- Do I actually want to change?
Language is enormously powerful. Pay attention to your words and thoughts. Notice each time you use should. When you first stop using the s-word, it can feel as if your thoughts are half-formed. This is a good thing, you’re growing!
Start substituting other words and phrases.
Can you say “I want”? If not, is it “I must”? How about “I choose to”? Can you see how each of these changes the concept and focus of your thought? And if these don’t fit, you gotta practice saying no!
Good luck, and let us know how it goes.