On Should

I’m not sure the origin of this thought, what inspired it, or where I was when it happened, but here it is.

The word should is loaded. It carries the weight of implied expectation that can be detrimental to relationships. When we say something or someone should exist or be some way, we are communicating our expectations on how the world should be, but isn’t.

Should is the bridge between ideal and real. It is the gap between potential and not yet or never. I should; you should; we should; they should. Embedded in that word is an expectation that imposes my view on others. I am asserting a desired or expected state of the world, and I communicating that the world has failed to meet those expectations.

  • They should… is projection.
  • They should have… is judgement.
  • I should have… is regret that comes from hindsight.
  • I should… is external expectation that I don’t believe in or want yet.

The next time you hear should, figure out the embedded expectation and where it stems from.