We Need To Stop ‘Should’ing All Over Ourselves

We could all do with a nice should-ectomy.

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Kat Jayne from Pexels

Prescription Makes It Personal

It is one thing to anticipate a particular result, even to feel extremely confident in that anticipation based on past experience or reliability of precedent, it is a very different thing to expect a particular result. Should is an expectation.

Results to not determine our worth or character. How we achieve them does. Should implies an imperative over both.

Judgement Denotes Right Or Wrong

If there is a result we should be achieving or a method we should be using the primary implication is there is a right or wrong result, a right way or wrong way to do it. There are certainly more or less effective methods and more or less desirable outcomes but any tones of right and wrong bring with them implied moral imperatives.

Making things an issue of right or wrong is not about optimizing results it’s about power, obedience, conformity, and is the primary tool of all abusive relationships.

Inferred Punishment For Non-Compliance

Should not only implies failure will be an indicator something is wrong with us but also that something bad will happen to us as a result, giving even a single minor failure the potential to be life destroying. The consequence doesn’t have to be immediate or violent, the verdict of being wrong can be harmful enough in and of itself as it threatens a separation from our peers for being of lesser worth or value.

If we don’t get the results we should or use the methods we should then our lives going forward will be poisoned by our deviance.

By leveraging a failed outcome into being a failure of the person should makes positive perception and image, and all too often positive self-image, contingent upon compliance with expectations. Success becomes far more about the compliance, the actual result winds up a distant second.

  • Are they asking for my assessment?
  • Am I concerned with the method/result or the rightness of it?
  • Am I imposing an assumption of the results I would want to see?

Written by

A professional dancer, choreographer, theatre creator, and featured TEDx speaker with an honours degree in psychology, two black belts, and a lap-top.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store