The S Word

There are certain people whose eyes widen as they gasp at the use of a certain 4-letter word that begins with “S.”  However, there’s a 6-letter “S” word that I think is more harmful . . . Should.  Yes, it can simply be used to indicate that something needs to be done: “I should do the laundry.”  But I’m here today to discuss the harmful effects when it’s used as a form of judgement.

We’re told not to “should on” ourselves, because it’s detrimental to our psyche (“I shouldn’t have eaten that piece of cake”).  Yes it can be helpful to have reasonable expectations on yourself, but a “should” phrase rarely falls into the category of a reasonable expectation.  It’s even worse when we “should on” others (“[Fat] people shouldn’t wear Spandex.”) or circumstances (“People shouldn’t be allowed to [buy guns], [smoke indoors], etc.”), though nobody seems to focus on changing that as much as they do individuals.  Maybe the thought is, once we stop shoulding on ourselves, we’ll stop shoulding others.

When people say things should or shouldn’t be a certain way, or that people should or shouldn’t do one thing or another they’re basically saying that they don’t like the current way things/people are.  When they judge a situation like that, it can be very difficult for them to move past the situation because they’re too busy lamenting about how unproductive, or not good the current situation is.  They think they’d be able to function much better if only things were different.

“______________ shouldn’t be that way!” or “___________ should do ________” are the war cries of those who want to change the world.  “For the better” is the reason that they always cite.  But the question is, for whom would this change be better?  The obvious answer is for the person making the “should” judgement.  It’s a natural reaction to want the world to look and feel the way that would enhance our own life, but we need to realize we’re not the only people on the planet, and not everyone thinks the same changes would be beneficial.

For instance, I grew up in the 70s and was able to ride in the back of pick-up trucks, sitting on the wheel arc and letting the wind rush through my hair.  I spent several years trick-or-treating this way with my cousins, and still have fond memories of those times.  However, someone (or a group) out there decided people “shouldn’t” be able to do that anymore because of the safety risk it poses.  While I agree that riding in a pickup bed isn’t safe on a highway, I see nothing wrong with it being done on country roads.  There are generations that will never get to experience the fun of something like that now, because of this law.

Many of the “shoulds” out there are extremely limiting to individuals and the population as a whole.  But more than that, they show a lack of flexibility in the person or group who makes them, as well as a lack of acceptance.  For those who believe in a higher power, it also shows a lack of trust in their deity.

But back to the “S” word.  I found a wonderful translation of a passage in the Tao Te Ching some years back that I want to share:

“If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.”
The Universe isn’t broken
And neither are you.
So don’t attempt to fix others
Until you realize that you yourself are perfect.

The lame man’s crutches
Are as much a part of him
As the wind
The birds
The sea

Meditate on this
And watch the complicated grow simple.

The first phrase in this is the most valid for today’s topic.  The Universe isn’t broken.  Neither are you or anyone else you know.  Saying you or something/someone “should” be a certain way indicates that you think you (or the situation/person) are broken in some fashion, which just isn’t so, in my opinion.

Nothing and nobody “should” be different than they already are.  Yes, change and growth will come–it’s inevitable–but they’ll come in the proper time.

The Universe is wonderful, just as it is.  And so are you!

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3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Dolly Chamberlin
    Feb 15, 2013 @ 17:30:14

    I second that! LOVES :}

    Reply

  2. Trackback: The Answer Lady | Droppings From the Mind of Alyx

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