For those of you that have seen “A Christmas Story,” you know that Master Ralph Parker deems ‘Fuck’ as the “Queen Mother of Dirty Words.” And while Master Ralph and I agree that the “F, dash, dash, dash” word covers and conveys the full spectrum of emotional exemplification, I wholeheartedly disagree on the word that deserves such a crowning. The bestowing of this matriarchal trophy belongs to:
Mercutio’s feelings toward the word ‘peace’ echo my sentiments of the word ‘should.’ This dung heap of a word implies “I’m the boss of you” when in conversation with family, friends, or coworkers. It tells you the way you’re living presently just ain’t good enough. It cuts you – or those you’re conversing with – off at the knees and administers a fist straight to the gut. Every time it haphazardly gets thrown out into the ether, it restricts the fresh air in which we breathe our dreams.
Should limits scope and limits hope. It’s the bully that sits on your back, banging your head against the concrete. Should is used to express condition, implies a must, implies a duty, implies obligation, implies expectation, and relays an outside determination.
If you’ve ever been on the receiving end of this pus-infused, cantankerous wound of a word, I bet you know what I’m talking about – although you may haven’t noticed it before.
Maybe a simple article mentions that you should be meditating more. Maybe your Mother-in-law is relaying how you should be a stay at home mom after you’ve had her first grandchild. Or perhaps you and a friend are talking about weight loss and he or she casually mentions that you should be doing more cardio.
Any clue what this six-letter word is doing to you and your psyche? It is stripping away freedom and heaping on gargantuan servings of GUILT. And Guilt weighs more than any other emotion.
It’s no wonder you chide yourself for not spending more time on your yoga mat, tell yourself you’re a horrible mother for wanting to go back to work, or feel even more inadequate that cardio is your least favorite thing in the world.
But you know what’s worse? We repeat this rotting, meat-carcass of a word to ourselves more often than we realize. How many times have you told yourself you shouldn’t have ice cream, or you should be folding your laundry, or you should know more about cars? Basically, you’re creating an inner Fight Club between your brain and your heart. I’d be willing to bet, your squishy organs are pretty bruised by now.
But I promise – there’s a counteraction. There’s a way to shield the arrow of shame from piercing your beautiful emotional center. There’s a way to strike that word from your vocabulary forever.
“Why should I….?”
Ask yourself, “Why should I?”
Ask yourself, “Why should I meditate more?” Do you REALLY feel you should? Is meditation your thing? Do you feel stressed and disconnected? Are you curious about meditation at all? Do you one day hope to be a Zen master? Or is that article you read specifically targeting the weak spots in you to create feelings of lack?
Ask yourself, “Why should I be a stay at home mom?” Do you feel that the best place for you and your child is with you by his or her side? Do you feel there is an added benefit to being a stay at home mother? Or is your mother-in- law trying to stifle you based upon her own wishes that she’d been a working mom? Maybe she’s wrestling with the notion that she should’ve gone back to work.
Ask yourself, “Why should I do more cardio?” Does your friend know what’s best for your body type and your abilities? Or maybe he or she has just read that somewhere and feels it’s the quickest way to help you. Maybe that’s what worked for them. Or maybe that was something they’d been told they should be doing.
Lift the Guilt
Are you one of those people that consistently tells your friends, family, coworkers, or strangers you’ve just met in coffee shops with they should be doing?
Stop it. Seriously. Stop it, right now. (And stop doing it to yourself.)
While it may have been unintentional, you’ve just created a dark spot in someone’s second chakra. You’ve created a hole in someone’s heart. You’ve created a belligerent tumor in the creative garden of a friend’s brain. Instead, foster growth. Ask yourself, “Why should they?” and then reform your statement.
Should doesn’t help. It hinders. No one should do anything.
Don’t believe me? Try it out. Observe the torches this flame ignites when you rid yourself of “should”, and claim your power over guilt. Watch what happens when you absolve your loved ones from the weight of expectation.
Help Fuck get her crown back.