I should have…. Yesterday I should have….. Today I should have known better. About 30 years ago I went to a workshop and one of my take-aways was when the presenter said “Do not should yourself today!”
“Shoulding” yourself is an easy thing to do. I have times when “I should have known better,” or know “I shouldn’t have done that!” But, the sad fact is, increasing my sense of frustration by reminding myself that I should or shouldn’t have acted in some way helps no one. Then I say, “I should get up and dust the bedroom,” and stay right where I am.
So, what’s the next step, or what to do instead of bringing up that “bad” word—should?
I try to remember to drop the thought as soon as it forms and move ahead. Either I must now deal with the results of what I should have done and didn’t, or what I should do and don’t. I can feel depressed because I didn’t do what I should have! Which, again, helps no one, least of all me.
Sometimes I can be my own worst enemy, vacillating between should I, or shouldn’t I. Telling myself to do it or telling myself I have a good reason for not doing it helps. Also telling myself if I do whatever I think I should do, I don’t have to feel guilty later for not doing it! (There should be a way to follow my line of thinking.)
According to the freedictionary.com, should is the past tense of shall and its uses are as follows: 1. Used to express obligation or duty: You should send her a note.2. Used to express probability or expectation: They should arrive at noon.3. Used to express conditionality or contingency: If she should fall, then so would I. 4. Used to moderate the directness or bluntness of a statement: I should think he would like to go.
Definitely a useful word, and I should know how to use it!