Anyone who knows me well can tell you that I’m very particular about context and semantics. No, I’m not a “vocabulary snob”, I’m not going to correct your grammar or tell you that you’ve mispronounced a word. However, I am a conversationalist and I value careful phrasing and making sure to be kind and deferential when conversing with someone; especially when there are multiple perspectives involved.
That being said, there is one word in particular that does tend to get a rise out of me, which is why I have completely eliminated it from my vocabulary.
That word is…(drum roll please)…should.
As such a commonly used word, it’s no surprise that we tend to overlook what we’re saying at the core. Well I’m here to tell you, it truly has no place in our conversations, speeches, or anything of the sort.
Some examples of should statements I hear too often are:
*“You should workout more often.”
*“I should go to sleep/wake up earlier.”
*“You should start your own business.”
*You shouldn’t have anxiety over something so small.”
*“You should have started earlier.”
Even just listing off these examples is grinding my gears. Well here’s a thought…Whose place is it to decide what “should” or “shouldn’t” be anyways?
You see, when you use the words “should” or “shouldn’t”, you’re not accepting what is, but instead affirming shortcomings.
Regardless of what supposedly “should” or “shouldn’t” have happened, what has already occurred is not going to change with the use of those words.
How does it benefit anyone to wish that something did or didn’t happen?
*Hint, hint* it doesn’t. What it’s doing is reinforcing the negative.
When you use the word “should”, what you’re really saying is “I want to, but I’m not” or “they could have but didn’t”, which whether consciously or subconsciously prompts a feeling of guilt within you or whomever you are speaking to.
Realize that when you tell someone that they “should”, “shouldn’t”, “should have”, etc. you’re not regarding that persons ability to make decisions for themselves. It implies judgement and reflection of expectations instead of progress or solutions. It’s ineffective communication, therefore “should” and acceptance do not go together.
The bright side is, there are several positive and solution focused words and expressions we can use in its place such as:
“Next time I will…”
“I feel accomplished when…”
“It’s really important to me that…”
“I would like it if…”
“I can choose to…”
Notice I was able to write this entire article without once stating that you “should” or “shouldn’t” eliminate this particularly unappealing word from your vocabulary. So give yourself and the people around you a break babes, and for the love of all that is good and pure in this extraordinary universe, STOP SHOULDING ON YOURSELF!