Get rid of “should”

Typdom, Buchstabenspiel in Kreuzwortmanier, al...
Typdom, Buchstabenspiel in Kreuzwortmanier, alte Ausgabe von etwa 1930 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There has never been a word I  hate more than “should”.  I’ve always been told, by one particular person, I “should” do this or I “should” do that. Consequently, I’ve used it too often myself. Let me ask you, has the word “should” ever worked for you except to make you feel resentful?  It always made me feel that way. (Of course, maybe the author of the word makes a difference.)

Yes, there are things we “should” do. Eat our veggies, use our manners, be kind, help others, etc. But these are concepts not a specific word directed at us in a judgemental way. So what should we say?

I’ve learned to soften the word by saying, “Maybe you could……”), or “Maybe a good idea would be to…..”, or “Have you thought about….?”

We need to use life-affirming words, not life-depleting words.

So I’m not saying we should drop the concept of a “should” from our vocabulary but that we need to think of better ways to express our ourselves, especially our opinions or objections.

29 thoughts on “Get rid of “should””

  1. This is so appropriate to me right now. I’ve been working with a life coach and one of the things we talked about yesterday was the use of certain words — and “should” was one that she recognised that I use regularly. It’s certainly made me think about the impact certain words have on me.

    1. Hey Kim,

      Thanks for the comments. I could’ve also written about how I use the word “should” too often in regards to myself as well. I’ve pretty much finished writing a book about depression (am working on the book proposal right now) and one chapter is devoted to the words we speak and how they circle back into our brain through our very own ears! You would be surprised at how few people ever think that the words they’re using are the words they themselves are hearing. It doesn’t matter who puts us down, the effect is the same.

      Thanks again and keep up the good work.


  2. i always use this when trying to help people or explain to people how life depleting (well said!) the word should can be.. I say, and obviously I am not the originator, something to the affect of “don’t should all over yourself” Writing it sounds negative.. but it means dont be so hard on yourself with all these, it should be, that should be, you should do …. why? who said so? who made the SHOULD rule? what will happen if you don’t? Will the SHOULD police arrest you? LOL.
    It is meant in a light way to explain how harmful it can be to your own well -being. Letting go of “shoulds” makes way for so much freedom!!!!!!!!! Life changing. Thanks for the great post!

    1. Ok, I’m tired. What are you referring to? Have some extra stress today and brain not working so good. 🙂

    1. I didn’t go to a Catholic school but my husband did and he would agree!

      Thanks for commenting.


    1. Yes, great minds do think alike. 🙂 I had more comments and pingbacks on this post than any thus far and composed it about fifteen minutes. Go figure. Must’ve hit a responsive chord with some folks.



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