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Should: the disambiguation

Toxins can hide inside otherwise healthy food

The word "should" is a useful word in many circumstances, without toxic effects. Yet, it is often used toxically and, in fact, when used this way, it is the mother of all toxic words, like good, bad, right, wrong, miserly, and generous.

No trans fat added

Let's look first at non-toxic examples of how the word "should" can be useful.

In order to express what is needed to get a specific intended result

  • "We should screw this one in first."

  • "We shouldn't mention it to her until she discovers it herself."

  • "You should meditate daily to reduce your stress."

In order to express a conditional relationship

  • "If you would accept my invitation, I should be pleased."

In order to express an intention or a promise

  • "I should have this to you by March 5th."

In order to express a prediction

  • "The plane should arrive about ten minutes late."

  • "If you save 5% of your income each year, you should have enough to retire when you're 67."

In order to acknowledge something you learned

  • "I should have done it the other way."

Enter the HOGAB: other uses of "should" that are both toxic and fuzzy

"You should do your homework."

Translation: if you don't do your homework, I or others will blame you or be disappointed in you.

"They shouldn't be allowed to get away with breaking the law."

Translation: I am blaming those who are or might break the law and I am blaming those who are or would allow those who break the law to get away with it.

"I shouldn't have started drinking again."

Translation: I am blaming myself for and I feel guilty about starting to drink again. I am doing this to feel safer by beating others to the punch in blaming me, including others that I imagine might blame me if they knew. It also helps me to feel that I am not such a bad guy because I feel guilty about it. It proves I am a decent guy trying to be better.

"Should" sources the root of our fight with reality and all of our suffering

"Should" is the fundamental lie that we believe that aspects of our reality are not the way they are or will not be the way they will be.

Welcome to the civil war that you are whenever "should" uses you.

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