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Where Shoulds Hide


Can you believe she did that? She should have …

I feel so bad. I should have …

I know I should, but …

They really should …

Most of us know and remind our clients, SHOULDING all over yourself and others is a sure fire way to burn off any sense of joy, satisfaction or pleasure. Except for that weird sticky pleasure the conditioned self derives from the experience, there’s no joy in shoulding.

Shoulds are pretty obvious to spot when should is right there in the sentence. However, playing hide and seek with SHOULDS shows this little cognitive activity has quite the playground.

Slipping behind the question “WHY?” a should sits in hiding. The implication is that things SHOULD be different, someone else SHOULD be different, your client SHOULD somehow be different.

It’s way more efficient to uncover WHAT pain is getting triggered by the way things are and address that. It may be that a specific request is in order or a CHANGE in some relationship.

Regardless, untangling from the distorted SHOULD typically reveals the next best step. SKILLFUL CHOICES are more evident.

Another place shoulds HIDE is in righteous indignation. These two run side by side like trickster twins. Sometimes a simple reminder can be enough. “You do you.”

One of my mother-in-law’s favorite phrases was, “Well, everybody’s gotta be somewhere.” She’d chuckle and shake her head. It was if every should in her mind flew off with that laughter.

Shoulds have a lot of HIDING places and do a lot of psychological and relationship damage. They rob us of the preciousness of this present moment. They inhibit the experience of unity and connection. They prolong pain and grief while veiling the truth.

Where else have you seen shoulds hide? Share your thoughts on shoulding.

We are going to explore this territory a little more in our FB live on January 23 at noon. Mark your calendars, invite a friend to and join us!