29 December 2015

Banish the word!

Should. Now there's a word I'm finally removing from my vocabulary. There is really nothing good about this word or its implications.

I have spent a lifetime doing what I should do. Not what I want to do or what I'd like to do, but what I should do. And I am sick of it.

'Should' only implies that someone else knows better than me. Someone else is deciding what is best for me. None of this is a problem way back when I was a child, but it is a huge problem now that I am a somewhat seasoned adult.

There is nothing I hated more than when my mom would say something like "you should really have a meal at Christmas, not just appetizers" or "you should go back to school" or "you should wear different clothes, those make you look fat". Every time 'should' was in a sentence it was like all of my wishes, hopes, dreams, ideas, wants, or needs were suddenly irrelevant. What was relevant was what I 'should' do.

It wasn't until my mom's death that I finally saw this for what it was: control. It was my mom's way of getting what she wanted out of me without regard to how I felt. Once she was dead I saw how manipulative it was and quietly decided that this would no longer be the case. She was the biggest manipulator in my life but there were others as well and each time I heard 'should' in a sentence I would start to question the motives of the person speaking. 

This has lead to a great revolution in the way I think. Before, I would simply do as I was told or feel forever guilty about not taking the 'should have' path. Now, I check to see if the suggestion is right for me as soon as 'should' enters my ears. I even try to remember that some people have good intentions when they tell me what I should do, but ultimately it's just control. 

One result of this thinking is that I no longer have any friendships...but were they really friends or just people I allowed to mold me the way they wanted me to be?


manchester fat acceptance said...

i totally agree - i try not to use the word should, and in fact i get upset when people use it in relation to me. for example, if someone is always too busy to see me, but keeps saying, "we really should get together", or if they are taking forever to reply to a text but say, "i shouldn't leave you hanging like that"...it makes me feel like i am on their Should List. the Should List is populated by chore-like stuff that stresses them out, but they are chastising themselves for not doing (yet not important enough to actually get done).

i would rather, 10000 times over, that someone would just stop talking to me and stop making half-assed and oft-abandoned plans. i HATE the feeling that my existence as a friend/acquaintance makes them feel obligated to me in some way. just do it, or don't do it!!!


Chantelle said...

Growing up with our mom was incredibly hard, and some of the things she did and said (like criticising and telling us what to do and how to do it) had lasting impacts.

I agree that "should" is a dirty word and I also don't use it. I disagree that people using it are necessarily trying to control us. My experience is that most people don't think about the language they use and don't realize the effect their words have on other people; they're just using words in the way people do, without thinking. Our experiences differ, of course.