Sunday, July 20, 2008

The Problem With Shoulds #4: Responsibility

"Should" absolves the speaker of all personal responsibility. When you say, "I should go now," what are you really saying? That you have no desires or preferences of your own? When you say, "we should break up," who is truly making that decision? Was there a vote taken somewhere?

Even a seemingly benign statement such as "I should go to the gym tonight," or "I should call my mother," carry meaning. By disavowing your own needs and wants, you never have to take ownership or authorization for your life. You can then defer your actions to that invisible universal committee that doesn't exist. This frequently results in blaming others for your problems and identifying yourself as a victim.

Living life Absolutely Should-less means taking back your responsibility, and your sense of efficacy. Examples of such statements might be, "I choose to leave now," "I want for this relationship to end," "I'd prefer to go to the gym tonight," or "I honor my mother by calling her."

It's using every day language to convey that YOU are in control of your self, not "them".

What do you think?


HoneyGirl said...

I am smiling inside by what you say. Of course! It feels so much better to know I AM THE ONE...not someone else (whoever that may be) that makes my decisions for me. Even uncomfortable feels so much better right AFTER I take responsibility, even if in the moment it's painful. Every time someone else says I "should" do whatever they think I "should" do, I am such a rebel at first (and malleable later) that I turn the other way and do the opposite...then, I feel guilty that I'm not doing the "right" thing by what someone else's standards are, so I do what "should" be done and then realize it's wrong for me. So confusing...and so simple to take responsiblity in the first place, huh? I guess that would be considered self-manipulation in a way...coming around to your own truth eventually, but manipulating your way through the crap first.

Damon L. Jacobs said...

That's right, Honeygirl! You can save yourself much time and confusion but simply taking responsibility for your decisions in the first place. If you are doing things because you "should", or doing the opposite because someone told you that you "should," you are still disavowing yourself from your own power.

Isn't it easier just to begin with responsibility and avoid the middle stuff?

Thank you for your feedback!!