As someone who runs this self-development blog, I’m acutely aware of the way that my content might make someone feel.
I write about self-development and self-improvement so much because it is an area that I’m obsessed with. As I’ve mentioned before, most of the content I consume in my free time is within this field of self-improvement because I’m interested in finding new ways to better myself.
A few weeks ago, I came across a comment on this YouTube video regarding the word ‘should’ which inspired this post. It roughly said:
“Should is shit. Which means, you don’t want to should on yourself or other people.”
This quote stuck with me, not only for the use of toilet-humour, which I am truly a fan of, but because it’s bloody right.
WHAT’S IN A WORD? THE MEANING OF ‘SHOULD’
The word ‘should’ is one that gets thrown around a ton, not only in this field of self-development but basically every other aspect of life too. It certainly feels like this to me as both a (cis*) woman and a young person, so perhaps you can relate.
should modal verb (DUTY)
used to say or ask what is the correct or best thing to dohttps://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/should
People are constantly telling you what you should do, how you should behave, what you should want, and how you should get it.
Whether these are people you know in real life, like friends, colleagues or family members, or strangers on the internet, it sometimes feels like we never get a break from what people expect of us.
I’m no angel in this regard myself, either. I have definitely used the word ‘should’ when offering advice (whether solicited or not), when talking to my to myself and even when speaking to you through this blog.
But this quote made me realise what an awful word should is and how shitty it makes me when I use it.
WHAT’S THE PROBLEM?
I know that when we use the word should, we aren’t trying to be patronising or demeaning. We aren’t trying to ellict any negative response at all, because we’re merely expressing our opinions.
But, I don’t know what it is about life at the moment, because I honestly feel like ripping my hair out when I see the word should being thrown towards me!
Most often, it comes from people in my life who are (lovingly, I hope!) trying to give me advice on things they believe I need help with. But no matter how loving their intentions are, I can’t help but feel this deep-seated rage when they use this word, because it feels like they’re trying to control my life.
The word ‘should’ has become synonymous with failure, to me.
I feel like whenever someone is telling me what I should do and how I should go about it, they’re saying that what I’m doing at the moment is not right. No matter how hard I’m working or the amount of effort I’m putting into my work, my routine, or my projects as soon as someone ‘shoulds’ me, I feel like I’m doing it all wrong.
And considering my insecurity and other issues surrounding self-esteem, this doesn’t end well for anyone involved.
AND YOUR POINT IS…?
Basically, I wanted to write this post today to highlight how what we say can really impact the person we’re talking to.
You’re not stupid, I know that, so you clearly understood this already. So did I, but it’s funny how new things keep popping up to remind me of those concepts or ideas I thought I knew well enough beforehand. Turns out, I’m not as clever as I thought!
Anyway, next time you find yourself offering advice or getting offended by something that has been said to you , remember that should is shit.
Just like you wouldn’t shit on yourself or a friend, try not to use the word should when talking to them.
PSA: I will fall over so much with this point, and so might you. But you shouldn’t be hard on yourself, because we’re all doing the best we can.
Take care of yourself.
*just included for clarification, not to comment on who has things worse across the genders because I’m aware of being highly privileged!
Photo by John Schnobrich on Unsplash