Do you have a word that bugs the bejesus out of you? I have a couple that do, but there has been one particular word of late that seems to bother me more than others.

It’s a simple word really.

But in most contexts it is a word of control. People say this word to tell you what to do, what to be. You say this word to yourself and it makes you second guess and question and doubt. It’s a word connected with an action THEY think you need to do.

It’s the word “should”.

You “should” do this thing over here. You “should” go to that place over there. You “shouldn’t” do this, or “shouldn’t” wear that, or “should” think this way, or “should” have this job, or “should” be, “shouldn’t” be.

“Should” is CRAP! It’s a word filled with soul crushing negativity most of the time.

“Should” becomes a long line of expectations about what your life was supposed to be if you had only listened to everyone else’s opinion. If you had followed someone else’s advice, plan, dictation for your person. Even your own doubts and failures and worries circle around the word “should”.

It needs to stop being such a major word in our vocabulary. Our mindset.

I think “should” becomes a list in our head of things we missed out on or were too frightened to do. Silly expectations when we need to stay positive and not think of the “should have’s” in life.

My friend Jon said it well-It’s a word that is meant to fulfill others expectations and not your own.

I am tired of other people dictating to me what I am supposed to do. What I “should” be. Because those people do not know me! They have never truly seen my heart nor have they had a notion of what I want in this life. And they seem to think I should be grateful to them and appreciative of their opinions because they graciously took notice of me. Fuck that!

An example of how this word can be negative popped up tonight. I was texting with my sister-in-law Cyndee and she mentioned she had eaten her latest recipe creation for dinner and felt like she was in a sugar coma. And I immediately told her she SHOULD take a walk to work it out of her system.

SCREECH! What the fuck? Why was I saying this? Why was I (unintentionally!) shaming her? She did not ask my opinion. She did not say she wanted to find a solution to the deep tiredness she was feeling. She simply wanted to take a nap. Seriously-when is a nap ever a bad idea?

I apologized to her for just assuming she wanted my advice on how to deal with an issue that was not an actual issue at all. She ate poorly and was reaping the consequences of it. We have all done this! I do it frequently! (Hello Cheetos!) And what did I do other then empathize? Told her “you should…”

I detest when people do this to me and yet I made a snap decision and did the very thing I hate, to her.

“Should” is one of the reasons I made some pretty bad life choices. When I was younger and less fabulous than I am now, I overheard a conversation between my Mama and one of my sisters. And Mama said that “Pammy Ann should just stay here at home till she is 40 or 50. She should just do what we tell her and be done with this nonsense she has of leaving home.”

Well, Pammy Ann went into total panic mode because (should she listen to her Mama!) all she could envision for herself was living like the lady down the street who was in her 40’s and still lived with her parents and wore handmade clothes and worked the same dull job at the same dull office she had worked at since she was 18 and took the same lunch in the same brown paper bag every day and she and her mom would run outside and take brooms to the squirrels in their yard who tried to steal the walnuts that fell to the ground from their walnut tree and her dad would scurry around and make them fill buckets with all these stupid walnuts and take them into the house and all I could imagine was a house filled floor to ceiling with buckets of nuts and why couldn’t the squirrels have them and oh my fucking god I would go crazy like the Squirrel Lady if I did what I “should” do and just live with my parents for the rest of my life!

AAARRRGGGHHH!!! (What followed was more than a decade filled with a bad marriage, bad clothes and even badder hair. I still have nightmares about that hair!)

“Should” should not be in your repertoire of verbiage. Try going through your day without telling someone what they “should” do. And by “someone” I mean you, too.

If you feel the need to tell someone what you think they should do, please, present it as a suggestion. With a light of positive shining on it! Not a finger-pointing demand that they follow your dictate of what YOU think it best for them. Instead of “you should do…” what about asking them if they had tried another line of thinking?

And if you are going to use that word on your self-Holy Negative Nellie, Batman! Please! Be kind to yourself!! Instead of a negative thought like “well I missed out. I should have studied a foreign language in school. Boo hoo!” Say, “You know what? I should learn a language!” And then follow through on your suggestion and change that should too WILL.

Life is too hard to live with “should haves” clouding our hearts and minds. It becomes a fog, a road block to the good and positive things just waiting for us!

I encourage all of you, my lovelies, to be kind to one another and be even more kind to yourself.

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