Should - Reflections from a Red Head
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Should. A word. A dangerous word.

Try using it in a sentence.

“I should have gone to bed earlier.” (Well, you can’t change that…so why even say it?)

“I shouldn’t have eaten that piece of cake.” (Guilt!)

“I should really exercise more.” (More guilt?)

“You should look after yourself better.” (lecture!)

“They should be more understanding.” (passing judgment?)

“We should go on a holiday.” (but…)


I don’t think we realise the strength yet the weakness associated with the word, which in itself is non-commital, and can be so easily equated to negativity, guilt, blame, and wrong-doing. It reminds me of “I told you so”. And we all love that!

I used to use the word “should” a lot, as I was the Queen of negative self-talk. I do seem to have broken myself of the habit though, which is fantastic. I could have used the word “should” an awful lot lately, especially with D’s accident, the tree-loppe smashing our lounge-room window, running out of petrol in our own drive way, a car accident, the resurgence of eczema on my face…but haven’t. Because through all this I can see the light, and truly believe that things happen for a reason. I refuse to get bogged down. I truly think I’ve turned a corner.

Will you join me in banning the word “should” from your vocabulary?


  1. I should be banning should from my sentences! ;)

  2. Argh! I recognized myself from at least 10 should in your post! But I will pay attention to it in future, no more guilt, jugdment, lecture … Thanks for the reminder, Janine. Btw, did you have that massage yet, you really should!

    • Oh Barbara, I haven’t! But I’ve had 2 Reiki sessions. Massages are on my list for tomorrow as I’m going to attempt to take a day off!

  3. I’m with you on this one. I like the last “should” on your list, how we use the word to make excuses for why we aren’t doing something that we could do.

    • I know! Thinking back I’ve used excuses so much in my past – especially back in the days where I was gripped by my depression. It wouldn’t have helped me much!

  4. I really should get on board with this. But…so sorry couldn’t resist. I agree with you we need to let go of the negative thoughts and live knowing that every thing that happens to us a lesson can be learned from it.

  5. RAAckermanATCerebrations

    The best way to eradicate one habit is to replace it with another.  Replace “should” with “am” or “are”- keep it actionable.

  6. Very interesting post.  Thinking back I probably use “should” more than I . . . oh wait!  :)  

  7. Diane MeHimAndTheCats

    Great post! I need to follow your advice!

  8. Insightful analysis of “should.”. I should get rid of all the “shoulds” in my book – or most of them.

  9. I use the world “should” quite a bit myself, and never really thought about how negative of a word it is.  I think I’m going to change that.  Thank you!

  10. Can we ban the word ‘ought’ as well while we are at it, since it shares the same issues?

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