Sunday, May 27, 2018

Understanding the Meaning of Shoulds

People will give you advice all the time. Usually it comes in the form "you should...". I call this "giving a should". The first thing to remember is that if someone gives you a should, even if it is not for you, you should be grateful. Why? Because they are sharing a part of themselves. You see that idea didn't come out of nowhere. Instead it came from their thoughts, their dreams, their desires, their fears. It is less about you and more about themselves. This means that if someone gives you a should you should never criticize it too harshly. Feel free to explore more on why they are giving you that should. Feel free to test the assumptions. But be cognizant that it came from that person so an "oh that idea is dumb," would be almost an attack on that person. There are some percentage of people who are able to distance themselves from their ideas; they might respond "oh, why do you think it is dumb?" But I think a majority of people would be offended because they are attached to their ideas, as if the idea is part of themselves, and thus an attack on the idea is a personal attack.

I'd actually recommend that when you receive a should, you might want to use that as an opportunity to learn more about the person giving you the should. Try to understand deeply where that came from. Where did that should originate from? Is it a childhood dream that they have been yearning to fulfill? Fear of upsetting a parent? Pressure from society? A pleasant experience that they had themselves and want you to have the same experience? If someone offers you a should, they are usually willing to share they reasons behind it as well.

Once you know the reasons behind the should you can make a better decision on if you should keep that should or not. You are not required to. Its not yours to begin with after all. If you decide to not keep it, at least you will have a better understanding of the person behind the gift.