The infamous coulda, woulda, shoulda!
Are my “shoulds” getting in the way of my happiness?
Being present and purposefully active in living your life (as opposed to simply being alive) leaves little time for “shoulds”. You should either being doing something, or not doing something. Therefore “should” has no place in my thought process. It’s a waste of time. Even worse, a supremely negative waste of time and if you are going to waste time at least do something enjoyable or relaxing. I make it a point to waste time doing positively meaningless things that make me feel good. No feel good ever came of “should”.
I should finish the book outline I started a month ago. There are two options for today and everyday I’m lucky enough to wake up; I can do it or not to do it. “Should” has nowhere to fit into that scenario. It is I am or I am not going to finish the book outline today. In recognizing that “should” is a negative, that “should” accomplishes nothing, I give no power to these kinds of words. A powerless word cannot get in the way of my happiness.
I know I should be more patient with my brother. I have all the facts of the situation and know what the right thing to do is. Dwelling on how I could have been more patient in the past or how I could be more compassionate in the future creates no change other than to pepper me with discouragement. I could use that brain power on deciding whether or not the time is now and if I’m doing that today then what’s the best way to go about it.
The word “should” is a duplicitous time waster. It tricks you into thinking you are doing something about a problem because you are thinking about it but what it is really doing is trapping you into doing nothing outside of thinking about it.
I’ve never seen the inspirational poster that say “You should be the best you be” or affirmations that start with “I should be strong and confident”. They’d never work. There is no motivation or action in “should”. But a bold font, big printed “BE THE BEST YOU CAN BE” or “I AM STRONG AND CONFIDENT” force you to at least try or make a liar out of them.
Happiness is a choice. It’s a lifestyle that you choose. Two people with the same lives, same upbringing, same tragedies, same triumphs and you’ll easily find one is quite happy and the other is far from it. The happy one is not by accident. They don’t deal in “shoulds” because they “are”. The unhappy lives the life of “should” and will dwell there until they make a choice to not despair the “should” but make an activity driven decision to do or decide to not do and then let it go. Turns out I have to end up letting go of a lot but the flip side is I also get meaningful things done and those contribute to my happiness.