Don’t let the ‘should’ get you down!

In Mental Health Awareness week:

How many times in a day do we use the word ‘should’? You should’ve washed up; they should’ve checked first; I should’ve done that yesterday.

This week I seem to have used, and heard, this word a lot and came to question – what does it even mean?

Currently an extension is being built on my house and when the building inspector came to sign off the footings he declined saying that the apple tree was less than 2 metres from the footings and therefore the footings were to go deeper.  Whilst there were no visible roots, and this had a financial implication for me, and a logistical nightmare for the builders due to the fact that there was now a big hole where they needed to place the digger, it is his job to ensure the rules are followed for good reason and so we accepted our fate. 

Now, it occurred to me that the apple tree had been drawn on the plans and therefore asked why this hadn’t been picked up upon the application for building regs: thus saving the shocking additional cost and logistical nightmare for the builders.  He declined to answer giving me a politician’s response about ‘anything could show up once builders start digging, so we check at this stage’.  But the tree was a given, we ‘should have’ been told from the start that we would require double footings.  The conversation was going nowhere, both believing ourselves to be right, and left me feeling rather frustrated that he ‘should have’ seen my point and he ‘should have’ answered my question. 

Now, full of frustration I decided to go to my fitness class to cool off, and guess what… 19 people turned up with only 13 booked on: too many for the pool and hindered my normally great class:- they ‘should’ve’ booked on, ensuring the instructor wasn’t overbooked and members could enjoy the class.

Come the evening, students concerned with their upcoming exams claiming: they ‘should’ have more time: the teacher’s ‘should’ have taught them better: the government ‘shouldn’t’ have changed the exams.

Trump ‘shouldn’t’ threaten Korea; Theresa May ‘shouldn’t’ call an early election; we ‘shouldn’t’ exit the EU.

The list is endless…

The problem with the ‘should’ is that we address issues which we have no control over: I couldn’t control the building inspector; I couldn’t control the members at the pool; we can’t control the government.  So, if we can’t control things, is there any point worrying about them?  The other point to consider is whether it is factually true, or is it an opinion?

Well of course, it’s clear that these are all individuals’ opinions and they are neither right nor wrong: they’re opinions.  They are individuals’ opinions on what they believe to be right or wrong and of course, don’t make us as that individual right. 

Beliefs are what define us in the world.  They are formed throughout our lives and create our own limitations and ultimate prisons.  Some reading this, who have done the Lightning Process™ course, will be saying ‘yeah, we know’ and maybe the bigger question here is not ‘what does should really mean’, but ‘why do let the ‘should’ get us down?’  The answer is ‘we ‘shouldn’t’!  And there you have it – it’s a choice.  So the next time the ‘should’ gets you down – stand back and ask whether this is really worth getting upset about – or whether it’s better to say NO!  I choose to address my belief and move on.

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