Over Thanksgiving Break, my friend offered me her book, The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter– And How to Make the Most of Them Now by Meg Jay. One of many ideas that she wrote was,
“Shoulds can masquerade as high standards or lofty goals but they are not the same. Goals direct us from the inside, but should are paralyzing judgements from the outside. Goals feel like authentic dreams while shoulds feel like oppressive obligations. Shoulds set up a false dichotomy between either meeting an ideal or being a failure, between perfection or settling. The tyrant of the should even pits us against our own best interest” (47).
We live in a world where the words “should” and “could” paralyze us from doing what we truly want for ourselves. They make us doubt our decisions. “Oh, I should have done that instead of this… or I could have done that” They make us lose ownership of our decisions, and diminish the value of our choices.
For example, when I say, “I should have never done that,” I shrug of the reasons why I was there and why I did it. I end up putting more value to what I did not do and devalue the experience I had. Instead of devaluing what I have done, I think it is best if I own up to what I did and learn from it. That is where true values come from, “I did this, and it wasn’t the best, but now I know what is the best.”
In college, a lot of students, including me, have the tendency to do almost everything on campus because we think that that is what we are suppose to do. We are suppose to get involved, meet people, ultimately, living the college life to it’s fullest extent, and hopefully, leaving a legacy at our college. We think that we are suppose to be a part of this club, or that we should volunteer at the Marion House Soup Kitchen, or that we should have attended that important talk, and yes it may be important, but is it you? Is this me?
There are so many shoulds in this world that distract me from what I should be doing; that should should only be the shoulds of my heart- the ones that align with the roots of my values and the core of my passions.