“Should” is a word which needs to be relegated to the second string, a backup word which is used sparingly and only when absolutely necessary. When we overuse “should” we build paper mache reality full of guilt, regret and unfulfilled hopes.
I should exercise more.
You should show up at work earlier.
I should have studied more in college.
He should have done his part of the project.
I should be able to get that to you this week.
She should be here soon.
We should be ok.
It should work.
Should, should, should. It’s a word of unfulfilled expectations, an indication that things are not as they ought to be but without certainty that they will be repaired. It leaves residues of guilt and pours on the obligations. It blame-shifts and hands out false hope. And it grasps at straws. When we allow “should” to be our circumstance we are left with the dissatisfaction of something incomplete.
Instead of “should,” as much as it is up to us, we ought to be people who are and who do. Let “am” and “is” describe our being and “must” and “will” describe our future. Such words are active and full of hope. Instead of passive and questioning they are present and urgent. “Should” allows us to shirk responsibility. Instead of committing and completing we vaguely allude to and never follow through. When we avoid should we leave less room for vacancies and voids whether it be in work, relationships, or personal growth.
In all, “should” is often more than just a word. It indicates a mindset or an unfulfilled reality. Only by an intentional choice can we move past it. It’s worth it. We should really try. But will we?