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Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Don't Should All Over Yourself

In DBT this past summer, one of the helpful quips often used during sessions was, “Don’t should all over yourself.”

You may have heard this phrase before. It isn’t new, though it was new to me at the time and kinda blew my mind. Just to clarify if you don’t follow or English isn’t your first language or whatever, this is called a “pun.” A pun is a form of wordplay that suggests two or more meanings of similar-sounding words for an intended humorous effect. In this case, “should” sounds a lot like “shit” when spoken in the context of the sentence. Don’t should or shit all over yourself. Both are bad. JUST SO WE’RE ALL ON THE SAME PAGE.

Literally everyone does this. I’ve noticed it a lot more with women. We’re taught from a young age to always be nice, obedient, accommodating, to follow rules. I think that leads to a lot of profoundly dangerous long-term effects, but that’s another rant for another day.

So, what might shoulding yourself lead to? I've seen it lead to being involved in projects you don’t care about or don’t have time for because you feel like you “should.” People stay in jobs they hate for years because they “should” be responsible. They go to colleges they don’t want to go to. They major in things they don’t care about. They stay in marriages or friendships that aren't fulfilling. They have children because society tells them they “should.” They live lives of unnecessary misery because they heard somewhere that this is what you “should” do and if you don’t do it you’re wrong.

I'm guilty of this as much as anyone, and I really think it’s about time we all fucking stop. Everyone has only one measly little life, and we’re here for a tiny fraction of a blip of time in the grand scheme of the Universe. Don’t spend it shoulding all over yourself! It’s pointless and it’s gross. Do what you want. You know, unless what you want is to stab kittens or something. Then do not do that and please seek help immediately. (Contact me for a list a reputable therapists in the west Michigan area)

I’m not saying you need to dismiss all responsibility and live on the fringes of society. There are some things you actually have to do, like, in order to not die or get arrested. Do those, please. Everyone has little things they should be doing but they choose to do other stuff instead. On a micro level, maybe you should be doing your taxes instead of marathoning Bob’s Burgers on Netflix. That’s not what I'm talking about. That’s procrastination and it is a real bummer, I know. Unfortunately it’s also - at least partially - human nature (though you can fight it! I believe in you!).

But the word “should” when applied to a human life is a myth. It implies that there is one right way to do an existence, and that’s just not fucking true. This deprivation of an enjoyable life because you feel like you owe it to society, to your parents, to whomever, that you do your life the way you were taught to do it… that’s not nature. That’s nurture. That’s society. That’s brainwashing. And it must be stopped. Or at the very least, given a giant F U.

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