• Janine Green

Why you should never use this word

There’s a lot of talk and advice about what we ‘should’ be doing at the moment: “You should try learning a new skill’ or “you should try this for homeschool” or “We baked an amazing banana bread, you should try it”.

Generally I try and avoid using the S-word. Now, more than ever, it’s important to be conscious of the language that we use, given people are finding themselves in situations and emotional states which are new, unknown and anxiety inducing.

When we say “should” it implies that the recipient of our (presumably well-meaning) advice is lacking in some way. Of course, that’s probably not what we’re meaning, but stop and think about it. If we are always being told “you should try it this way” / “You should go to bed earlier” / “You should get another job”- it can very easily wear you down. It will constantly make you feel as if you’re not good enough, as if you’re not doing x,y,z, ‘right’ (whatever ‘right is?!)

Instead, try and catch yourself next time you’re about to say the S-word, and replace it with “what about trying it this way?” / “have you thought about trying to get to bed a bit earlier?” / “Maybe it’s time you thought about looking for a new job. Have you considered that?” . Immediately the language feels less like a demand, less as if the recipient is lacking in something. It also allows the recipient to take ownership by posing it as a question.

Taking a current angle on this – there’s so much flippin’ advice about what we ‘should’ be doing (especially if you’re home-schooling eh?!) but the truth is, nobody knows. All I do know, is that you will find the most fulfilment and calm by doing whatever it is that feels ‘right’ for you and your immediate family. And remember, your ‘right’ will not be someone else’s ‘right’, however similar we might seem.

Maybe, just maybe, if we follow this, we’ll come out of the other side of this as better people, less judgy, and more confident in ourselves and our decisions. Doing what feels good for us, not what we feel we ‘should’ be doing.