What I hear a lot from other people is that they feel they should have been a certain way or should have done something different. “I should have done better in that interview” or “I shouldn’t have texted my ex”. There is always this assumption of how something should have been different than it actually was. “I should work out more” or “I should drink less” – I wonder where all these restrictions of how someone should be come from.
Well fun fact – and let me blow your mind: If you could have done better in that interview, you would have. If you could have not texted your ex, you would have, but you clearly wanted to. If you want to work out more, you would. If you wanted to drink less, you would too.
Lets first deal with Should: First rule of thumb, in life, stop using the useless word should. It is a word that has a lifeless tone of order to it. Some random rule that you cant justify or example, some secret law that you adhere to but don’t even know why. “I should floss more” ok well, we all should, but how much is more? When is it enough? Is there someone who flosses too much? The thing is should has a connotation that you are doing something wrong. Breaking a secret law per say. It is a very strict word and locks you in. Try moving towards words that define an action or wish.”I want to do better in the next interview” or “I would like to text my ex less”. Notice how much more accepting and softer that is. See how it is you taking the steering wheel or your actions?
Now we deal with Could: If you could, then you would. Learn to accept that. A lot of people live with this ideal version of themselves, thinking they could do something. Like “I could have done better in that interview” or “I could work out more”. Well look, if you really could, then you would and you won’t be saying it but doing it. And that’s ok. Maybe you did your best in that interview and you are just too hard on yourself. Maybe you are doing the best you can to work out, and your life or your energy level don’t live up to your own expectations.
Should is a word that feels like you have to adhere to some rule. Could is some ideal expectation that you have put on yourself. In both cases, they are only in your head. Laws are determined “Employees must wash hands before returning to work” not “You should not shoot a person”. Who you are is determined “I am 5ft 7 and love ice cream” not “I could be 6ft and could like ice cream”. None of those sentences need or have a use for “should” or “could”. So neither should you (small pun there, I hope you appreciate it:).