In my recent post I mentioned what a pernicious word “normal” was. Right up there with it is the word “should”.

Should is primarily used to encourage socially acceptable behaviours backed up with the threat of guilt. “Children should be seen and not heard”, “You should respect those in authority”, “You should wash behind your ears”

Once we have been exposed enough to shoulds from those around us as we are growing up we start to own them and apply to our ourselves. “I should be trying harder”, “I should be more successful”, etc.

In our current enforced lockdown the power of these shoulds increases tenfold and the attendant guilt increases likewise. “I should be making better use of my time”, “I should be helping more people”, “I should be exercising”, “I should be eating more healthily”. When the shoulds are coming at you thick and fast from “experts” on the internet the situation becomes untenable.

But like the word normal, there is no such thing as “should”. It’s up to you to work out what matters. It’s up to you to decide what action to take. It’s up to you to decide when to be content with “enough” – or not.

2 thoughts on “Should

  1. Hmm. Worse is the politicians who say We need to…meaning they have no experience of organising and setting up and administration and are generally inept. We need t provide adequate PPE. Oh yes? Which is why charities can do it better and faster. The politicians you will have noticed have moved from ‘It is adequate overall’ ( i.e insufficient and in the wrong place, the case with the ventilators’ to ‘ Ah yes, it’s a challenge’ with PPE. the i.e. is self-evident there.

    And worse than that, you may have noticed the single appearance of Pritti Patel at the lectern: she used the deathwords of all politicians: ‘I am sorry if…’ never ‘I am sorry that…’ – you get another go if you say the latter.

    Try…I am doing my best to…but getting in my own way as usual’.


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