All The "Shoulds"

“All The Woulda-Coulda-Shouldas

Layin' In The Sun,

Talkin' 'Bout The Things

They Woulda-Coulda-Shoulda Done...

But All Those Woulda-Coulda-Shouldas

All Ran Away And Hid

From One Little Did.”

-Shel Silverstein

My therapist is pretty good at calling me out on my shit. Completely unbeknownst to me, during a lot of my conversations with her I keep saying, "I feel like I should feel X" or "I feel like I shouldn't feel Y, but I can't help it."

These "should's" and "should not's" make up opposing sides of an imaginary line we, as society, have just grown to accept as truth. The line is what is considered to be "normal" according to....I don't know..."everyone," and it divides the "right" from the "wrong." And the should and should not fall on either side.

So, for any situation you are in, the situation is the line. How you are "suppose" to feel lies on one side of the line. How you actually feel may or may not fall on the same side. And depending on where your true feelings lay, that is what creates all of the should and should nots.

How that line got there, and why so many people (including myself) choose to live their life according to that line, I don't know. Comfort? Following the crowd? Safety?

I digress...

Anyway, during this conversation with my therapist she finally had enough of all my should-ing and asked:

“How would you evaluate things if there were no ‘shoulds’? How would you make decisions?"


I didn't know how to answer. I would bet that most of us have allowed some of our decisions throughout life to be dictated on what we “should” or even “shouldn’t” be doing:

  • I should buy this dress because it’s the better bargain
  • I should go to this college because it’s more financially affordable
  • I should pursue this major because it will give me a better shot at getting a good job
  • I shouldn’t want to reach out to the bad boy that treats me like crap 
  • I shouldn’t quit my job to travel because then how am I going to support myself? 

If you read my most recent post about being afraid of writing this blog, you'll know that I'm nervous to be putting myself out there so much on this blog. What I'm attempting to do is different and probably not what I should be doing.

I should probably just shut up and go along with the program. I should probably not potentially jeopardize my current or future career by being so honest and exposed. I should probably not be so damn honest.

But, what if, like my therapist suggested - there was no line? What if there were no should's? What if things just simply...were? And our actions were things that we either did or did not do and our feelings were things we either felt or did not feel and that that was all there was to it?

What would that look like? How would you make decisions? And what decisions would you make?