About Moxie Girl Musings

Moxie Girl Musings is about starting over from square one after tragedy impacted my young family. It's filled with stories of triumph, struggle, snafus, hopes, and dreams. Sometimes there will be features from other writers that I like and every so often I'll include an original short story, but normally I simply write what's on my mind at the time. Welcome to my unfiltered true-life story as I figure out this thing called life. http://www.amberleaeaston.com

Friday, April 30, 2010

Banish the word 'should'!

The dreaded word 'should' pops up in conversations more often than I like.  I hear it in conversations with family and friends.  I hear it in my various support groups of young widows, survivors of suicide and single moms.  I hear it in the loop inside my own mind and tell myself, "I shouldn't be thinking this way!"

Shoulds heard in the Survivors of Suicide support group usually sound like this:   I should have been a better wife or daughter or mother or husband or friend.  I should have paid more attention.  I should have known he/she was suffering.  

In the widows' group, I hear:  I should snap out of this.  I should date again.  I should sell the house.  I shouldn't feel so desperate.  I should be able to jump right back into the work force.  I should be able to handle being both mother and father.  

I hear my friends beating themselves up with sentences like these:  I should lose more weight.  I should buy the $50 face cream I can't really afford for the promise of looking younger.  I should eat more broccoli.  I shouldn't eat that carrot cake.  

The shoulds that really annoy me are said by others who have not walked the same path.  You should be over this by now.  You should have published those manuscripts by now.  You should move to the city. You should find a more secure job. You should stand this way so your arm fat won't show.    

Stop with the should talk!  Eliminate it from your vocabulary.  The word should is insidious by nature because it screams that you are failing, that you are 'less than'.  Less than smart, less than beautiful, less than wise, less than secure, less than healthy, less than normal!  It serves as judge and juror and points an accusing finger right back at you.

To those who struggle with their lives, who grieve, who have suffered trauma, or who walk with those who are, I encourage you to stop with the should talk. When we are desperately searching for answers, we will latch onto the world 'should' as a life saving device when it is really an anchor.

'What should be' is an unattainable mythical concept.  What is real for you is true in this moment alone.  What is true for you is true for you alone. And if someone else is ranting in your ear about all that 'should be', please stop them in mid-sentence and tell them that you don't need to hear it.  It is never rude to protect your own sanity.

There are more empowering sentences to utter like:  You are awesome.  I am so thankful to be your friend.  I am beautiful exactly as I am.  I earned these wrinkles.  I am doing the best I can.  I need more carrot cake.  I love you.  Let's drink more wine.  What arm fat?


  1. You should come back to Sioux Falls soon and you should have a glass of wine with me at the Copper.

  2. Great advice! I hear myself saying "should" a lot lately. This is a timely post for me...thank you!


  3. Thanks. I nearly said should to my daughter a few minutes ago and caught myself! Must. Listen. To. Self. Ha. Ellee, you had 2 comments and 1 disappeared. Sorry. I hit publish and it vanished. It wasn't intentional. Be well, everyone!

  4. My favorite saying from a motivational speaker, I saw years ago was the quote, "you could should all over yourself." Awesome Blog as usual:) You are amazing!


  5. With only 24 hours in a day, I'm realizing that pursuing a "should" would be displacing something else. Eating chocolate at a certain moment vs. thinking "I 'should' be eating broccoli instead" at that moment only lessens the chocolate experience. It will be interesting to pay more attention to all the shoulds I use in my own life. In a way it will be paying more attention to my own self. Thank you for the inspiring notion, Amber! You are leading the charge...or 'should be'... :)