I’ve decided to abandon use of the word should.
I’ve decided to throw it on the pyre along with words and terms such as hate and I can’t wait or that something is killing me. Perhaps I’m perceiving words as having more power than they may actually hold, but I’m not willing to take any chances in case I’m wrong.
I’ve gone through several trial runs of the use of should (perhaps I should refer to it as the “SH” word) and they all seem to be rather cumbersome in their applications. I should be doing this thing or that thing… the implication is that my time is not being spent in the best way. This application is ladened with self-judgment and needless justification. When I find myself using the “SH” word in this application, I take one of two directions: I simply decide to do what I originally thought I should be doing, or I accept as perfectly valid the reason for not doing that which I thought I should.
The great part of this application is that it allows me to pull back the layers of imbalance I may be creating for myself. If there’s something I think I should be doing that I am avoiding, perhaps the should is borne of an unreasonable obligation placed on me by other people. In this case the should indicates something I do not want to do that is expected of me. These particular shoulds are almost always attached to someone or something that is important to me, and a simple shift in attitude through appreciation of that something/someone extinguishes that little “SH”.
Perhaps I am unappreciative of my own time and am being gluttonous with my indulgences. I should be doing this task or that chore instead of immersing myself in this distraction or frivolity. Then I examine that element we call time, that on one hand we treat as precious gems to be coveted, stockpiled, and secured, while on the other hand we toss over our shoulder like used Kleenex and chicken bones. A five minute task or an hour long chore becomes a life sentence as far as we’re concerned, where our perception of time become encased in amber, slowing to the lifespan of a Galapagos tortoise. We eschew these devourers of precious moments to bury ourselves in the diversions of our day, which invariably take tiny bites from the body of our time like a school of piranhas until we look about, wondering where our fleshy day went while still staring directly in the face of Should, who is now standing abreast with its buddy Have.
Then there are the shoulds that serve as the arsenal of the self-righteous. He should, they should, you should… advice and observations best delivered with hands on hips, feet apart should width. Based on my own vast and accumulated wisdom, I can now make endorsements and recommendations for better living for others. My should clearly indicates where others fall short, what is the best course of action, what choices ought to be made which if avoided will cause me to shake my head in disappointment. In this case the should serves to distract me from my own personally assigned shoulds in the light of the shortcomings of the others to which I just arrogantly assigned a recommended course of action. And yes, I do recognized the should in disguise, the ought to. Ought to is merely should dressed in a thick wig and a fake mustache. Onto the pyre with you as well, ought to.
So for me it’s not merely playing fancy footwork with semantics. It is truly finding the opportunity for critical yet compassionate self-examination that the temptation to use the “SH” word is offering me. It gives me a second chance to take action where need be, to readjust my perspective on what is important or to relinquish myself from an undeserved obligation, or to keep from dictating what decisions might be best for others and instead let them live their own lives.
I hate the word should and it’s killing me. Okay, now that I got those out of my system, I can get on with my life.