Stop should-ing on yourself.
Someone told me that recently. And I laughed a little bit and then spent too long thinking about other ways to make should almost sound like a cuss word (I'm not should-ing you.)
But then I let the actual meaning of it sink in and thought about just how many times a day I should myself.
Should is a scary word because it implies that we are doing something wrong. Even when used in the least-aggressive, healthiest of ways (I should like kale. I should be on time. I should slow down.), it implies that we are inadequate. That we are not enough just doing what we're doing.
In high school, I ran cross country and had a very intense coach, who, as we were 14 years old, transitioning from the middle to high school teams, told us we should be running at least 60 miles a week to keep up with the training. Katie and I would go to 6 a.m. summer practices every day, sweating it out on those humid Indiana mornings.
And what turned in to a simple guideline became a rigorous should. We should be running at least 8.6 miles a day. But what if, one day, you just want to five or four or three? Heaven forbid, what if we want a day off?
Lately I've found that life is not as coincidental as we'd like to think. There is meaning behind what happens to us and sometimes life hands me the same conversation with different people, over and over in a short period of time, and I think that when life does that, it's telling me to blog about it.
And these days it seems like a lot of people aren't quite feeling like they're enough - like they should be married. Should be buying a house. Should be getting promoted. Should be having a baby. Should be further along. Should, should, should.
Should is exhausting. Should is telling ourselves we are not succeeding. Should is shaming.
What if instead of should-ing all the time, we could?
I could be doing this, yes. But instead I'm doing that. And that's great, too.
I could be running 8.6 miles today, but instead I'm going to yoga. Or, possibly, taking a day off! And that's fulfilling, too.
I've decided that on this April Thursday, I'm banning should from my vocabulary. I'm hoping that by shining a little light on the word, I can take away it's power. We can begin to believe - even if only fleetingly at first - that today, just by doing the things we're doing, we're doing enough.
And I won't say that you should do it too, but I really think you could. Because you, my friend, are enough too. In fact, you're more than enough. Just by being you.