Stop “Shoulding” On Yourself!

The misuse of the word “should” causes more anxiety, heartache, and wrong thinking than probably any other word in the English language.

Let me explain.

When something is happening, or has happened, it “should” have happened, because it did.  Saying that it “shouldn’t” is trying to change the reality of what’s really happened.

Let me give you a few examples.  (As you read this, you really have to grab hold of your emotions.  I want you thinking right now with your logical brain—the left side, not your emotional brain—the right side.)


“My dad “shouldn’t” have left my family when I was eight years old . . . ”

. . . But he did.  So I’ve learned how to deal with it.  As a matter of fact, I have used that for good.  I remember thinking when I was about 14 years old that if the good Lord ever gave me children, I’d be a great father – because I knew what a bad one looked like.

And I’ve done that.  At least my sons tell me I have . . .  (They “should” say that, dang it!!!) 

But I could have hidden behind the “he shouldn’t have left” thought forever and not taken responsibility for my life.  I could have blamed the bad things in my life on him.  I could have chosen to have a messed up life, because dad left.

I was once teaching this concept to a group in North Carolina.

There was a gentleman attending who was a sex crimes detective.  He walked up to me at one of the breaks and said something like this, “I’m sick and tired of dealing with the scum of earth!!!”  He said it kinda loud.  He told me that he had recently arrested a man who had raped a toddler.  By the way, he had a gun on his hip, so I was very respectful…

I told him that he needed to quit his job.

“But I love what I do!” he said.

“Then change your thinking,” I told him.  “As long as you’re a sex crimes detective, you’re going to have to deal with the dregs of society.  Why not think of it this way—you’re the voice of the victim.”

What he was really saying to me was that there shouldn’t be people out there like that.  But there are…  And in reality, he has the power to put those folks away and protect the rest of society.

Another time, I had an animal control officer in one of my classes.  “I’m sick of people always yelling at me!”

“Dude, you’re taking their dog!!!  If you were taking my dog, I’d yell at you too…”

His thinking was that people shouldn’t yell at him.  As long as he’s doing that kind of work, people will yell.  Saying they “shouldn’t” is irrational.  It comes with the job.

The last example is a tough one.

When the airplanes flew into the World Trade Center almost ten years ago, they “should” have flown into them.  (Now watch your thinking right now…)  I’m not telling you I condone their behavior.  Far from it!  2996 people died that day.  I’m just saying that they did do it.  When we say there shouldn’t be people like that in this world, we’re trying in our minds to change the reality that there really are people like that.  When we accept the fact that they’re out there, we can effectively deal with the situation.

So…  Specifically where are you “Shoulding” on yourself?  What are you still blaming?  Maybe it’s time to quit that way of thinking, embrace reality, and then just deal with the situation in a more logical way.

You really “should” do this!  :)

Enter Your Mail Address

Leave a Reply