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  • Writer's pictureMairin McCracken

The Huddle #24: Should Happens

Pardon my French: should happens. We can’t help but wonder about our past choices, and project what we want for our future selves. Self-growth is good, and we’re always pushing ourselves to be better. But not all shoulds are created equal. 

There are the casual, more harmless shoulds. These usually come to us in question form, and might sound something like this: 

“Should I go to the gym?” (yes) 

“Should I cut my bangs?” (no) 

“Should I call my mom? “(yes) 

“Should I get the baklava from Souvla?” (hell yes). 

Then there are the shoulds that aren’t so productive. You know the ones- the shoulds that are wrapped up in self-doubt or judgment, the shoulds that harp on the past, the shoulds that frame our thinking in a way that makes us think if we don’t do something “right”, we’re worse for it. They usually come in a series of rapid-fire statements, and they might sound something like this: 

“Damn, I should have negotiated a higher raise. Damn, I’m an idiot.” 

“ I shouldn’t have sent that text… or should I have?"

“ I should go off social media. I have no self-control.” 

“ I should go out more. I’m such a hermit.” 

“I should stay in more. Who do I think I am? Paris Hilton?“ get the idea. 

When we get caught in this mess, we are, as my therapist puts it, “should-ing all over ourselves.” There’s a difference between nudging and judging, and the cycle of hardcore should-ing is usually a telltale sign that we’ve fallen into the latter. So, when should happen, think: Is this productive, or am I just should-ing on myself? Try to remember that you’re doing the best you can, and you love yourself too much to let your mind go up should’s creek without a paddle.

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