I’ve long talked to people about the problem of should. It’s one of the most troublesome words I know, particularly when it comes to health.

I should be able to do this and I should be able to to that. This shouldn’t be this way and things shouldn’t be like that.

My contention is that when we say should we are looking at things in the wrong way.

We say should to state that something isn’t the way we want it or think it to be and it usually bothers us.

The problem is, when we say should, we get stressed.

We say:

  • I should be able to lose weight.
  • This exercise shouldn’t be that hard.
  • My kids should listen better.
  • Traffic shouldn’t be so bad.

Someone else says:

  • You eat more than you exercise and you don’t sleep enough, you’re stressed and you make bad food choices so it makes sense you can’t lose weight.
  • You’re trying a hard exercise that you’ve never done it before and you lack the strength to do it properly so it makes sense that it’s hard.
  • Your children are young and have been taught not to listen to their parents so it makes sense that they won’t listen.
  • Thousands of people are driving in the same direction at one time so that makes sense that there is traffic.

These things aren’t stressful in and of themselves, but are a cause of stress due to our outlook on them. Think of all the times we use the word should without thinking about what we are actually saying. And how often does thinking that way cause us stress?

When something SHOULD be a certain way and isn’t it means we are putting our rules and expectations on something that follows different rules. This inherently means we aren’t considering all the information. Whenever we know all the rules and information about something there is no longer should. We understand why things are the way they are and there’s very little stress involved. There is and there is not and nothing falls into should or shouldn’t.

Funny enough as I just looked back, exactly 3 years ago I posted It Doesn’t Make Sense! Or Does It… which explains much of the same problem. This disconnect leads to saying should, which leads to stress.

This topic is likely lost on most of you, as I find myself thinking people should read this and follow what I’m trying to get at. The reality is that many people won’t because as I write this I realize how difficult it is to convey what I’m trying to say. So if I find myself concerned over it then I’m making the exact same mistake of putting my expectations and rules onto people that are coming from a different place.

The end result… When you get stressed about things that should be this way or that, take a step back and think of how the big picture looks. Would a bipartisan observer see things the same way? Should equals stress but simply means you don’t have all the information or aren’t considering the whole picture. So next time you find yourself saying should or shouldn’t think about what you’re missing in the equation and recalculate. It often results in everything making much more sense.

Thanks for reading, have a great day!

P.S. Some of you might remember a similar post a couple years back,

 

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