I have a messed up relationship with ‘should.’ It’s a amorphus blob of vague half ideas gestured at ineffectually with a limp wrist. It’s as compelling as a sentence in passive voice. It’s a taste-view of an idea of “perfect-ish” or ‘better-ly’ that isn’t. It has no consequence. For something that matters so little, it can be torturous.
I used to think ‘should’ was like a better me – a helpful, alternative super ego I made up to compel my lazy brain and body. It only induced intense guilt and the accompanying paralyzing shame that never motivated me to action, just anxiety attacks over not washing dishes the night before. What someone ‘should’ do is never interesting. What they actually do is. Starting a sentence with ‘I should…” means the rest of the sentence will be lame.
Shoulds are the bane of my brain on the plane going to Spain. When I imagined being without shoulds, I discovered I had energy to do. I ask myself: “Is this a dream from my inside brain or a should from a fake version of me?” (Do I really care if the dishes sat overnight?)
If I feel sad and regretful when I don’t do something, I’m ignoring a goal that is true to me. If I feel guilt or shame, it’s a should. Dreams exist. They come from within. Shoulds come from outside and can stay there.