I’m developing a strong distaste for the word “should”. It is, at once, both a completely useless word and a loaded statement. If you think about it, should serves as a synonym for “didn’t” or “won’t” with a hot steamy pile of guilt thrown in. For example this sentence, “I should call my friend whose husband just left her,” is basically code for “I’m not comfortable calling my friend because I don’t know what to say… so I didn’t. And I might not ever. But at least I feel bad about it!”
In addition to being a shame-throwing word, it seems like a waste of our limited breaths to spend airspace in the “Bermuda Triangle” of I should, you should, they should because it sucks us into keeping our convictions compartmentalized from our actions. When I start to overuse this word I start seeing a big red flag informing me that it’s time to decide if my choices will be genuine or I’m going to continue rationalizing my reasons for not doing what I know is right. I’d love to see what would happen if we got rid of the word entirely! It might really cause us to rethink things.
In the case of our friend whose husband left, we might actually dial the phone instead of wasting our time thinking we “should”! When the friend answers we might actually admit, “I don’t know what to say,” rather than trying to fake it. The friend would never forget it. And should loses the battle to did. Ahhh… a moment of relief from the nagging reminder that I’m not the person I want to be. I’ll take it.