“Shoulding” All Over Yourself and Misguided Self-Help Myths


Word of the Week: Should


The word of the week is should, a popular topic in self-help circles. That probably seems a little odd, but here’s why it’s the word of the week. Janet, my wife, and I were talking about the direction of her professional life. Like millions of others, her life has been deeply affected by COVID. All of her in-person art classes and yoga classes have been canceled. She has been able to move some of them online, but, as we all know, it’s not the same. Janet was wondering what she should do. Many articles have been written by mental health counselors and self-help books preaching about not paying attention to what you should do. They’re talking about your beliefs about what others think you should do, such as parents, children, friends, or colleagues. They may also be referring to old, lingering beliefs instilled during your childhood by well-meaning, but misguided grownups (or even some grownups who were not well-meaning). There is, however, a form of shoulding that makes sense. That’s when you ask yourself what you should be doing to live in harmony with your beliefs and values, the important people in your life, and the universe.

Quote of the Week: Whose Business is It Anyway?

“What you think of me is none of my business.”

I love this quote, but I’m not sure who gets credit for it. I’ve seen it attributed to Gary Oldman, Terry Cole Whitaker, and Anthony Hopkins.

So, whose opinion matters? I’m not worried about what most people think of me, but I hope the people whom I respect feel that way about me, too.

For Your Consideration: What Should You Do?

How are your relationships? What about your relationships with your coworkers, your customers, your children, your parents, your spouse or life partner, and your friends? The health of your interpersonal relationships can be an indication of your emotional and/or mental health. As you work on self-help, are you careful about who you let into your head and your heart? Are the people who influence you kind and thoughtful? Be careful about people who are cruel and shallow. Do your influencers lift you up or are they judgmental or fear-mongers? Do they encourage you, while also challenging you on your BS? (We all have BS and need people who will call us on it!) What do you do to nurture relationships with the positive people in your life? How do you manage your relationships with negative people? What are you doing to repair relationships with those you’ve hurt?

When my sons were young, I told them my wish for them was that they grow up to become happy, contributing members of society. I didn’t want them to feel like they should go into a particular line of work, get married by a certain age, or follow any other common expectation. They’re both in their 30s and that’s still my wish for them, it’s also my personal goal, and it’s my wish for you, too.

So, what are some appropriate shoulds?

  • We should be honest with each other and ourselves.
  • We should be curious.
  • We should be thoughtful.
  • We should be kind.
  • We should take good care of each other.
  • We should be careful about who and what we let into our hearts and our heads.
  • We should maintain our dignity and self-respect.

Do you have some other shoulds you believe? Leave a comment below.

Want to know more? You definitely should check out my on-demand training at CompassionateGeek.com. Need a speaker for your meeting or conference? Check out my virtual and in-person programs at DonCrawley.com/programs.

Next Level Customer Service Training

Enroll your team now in Compassionate Geek IT customer service training so they can work together, get things done, and take care of customers.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top