Several months ago, Jeremy and I decided to eliminate the word “should’ from our vocabulary. It’s not until you try to omit something that you realize just how much you use it. We were doing a lot of shoulding, and we had no idea. You might be wondering why we suddenly ostracized this innocent six letter word. Well, here’s why.
It only seemed to bring feelings of guilt, shame, regret, and obligation.
“I should have done that.” “You should do this.”
Do you hear it? My personality is notorious for being hard on myself, especially if I made a decision that turned out to have negative consequences. Should has never helped matters. I can’t go back to the past and do it different. Yes, I can learn from mistakes, but should was creating a permanent home in the past and leaving me feeling regretful. There’s nothing redeeming about regret. And telling someone you should do this or that creates a sense of obligation for them by telling them what to do, especially if it conflicts with the direction they were going.
So should had to go.
We’ve tried to replace it with other words like could. Could indicates possibility which has a much more hopeful ring to it. We are recovering should-ers, but we’re getting there…