Today I am thinking about the word "should". I once heard a sermon where the pastor (an ex-biker!) talked about how we need to stop "shoulding on ourselves". I quite enjoyed his little play on words there but what I was thinking about more was how we 'should' on each other.
It's not uncommon to hear someone say "you should... (fill in the blank)". How many of us like being told what we should and shouldn't do? Unless I have specifically asked for someone's opinion, not me! In fact, I think it's rude and disrespectful to tell another adult what they should or shouldn't do. That is none of our business.
When we respect someone, we allow them to live their lives as they see fit. We don't interfere unless asked. Instead of telling someone what I think they should or shouldn't do, I like to encourage people in what I see is positive in their lives. If you look hard enough, you can always find something positive. When someone does come to me with a problem, I like to ask: can I make a suggestion? Or: this is what I might do in your situation... .
Most often what people want is just for someone to listen. We all go through hard things and it's nice to be able to share with someone who will just listen and feel your pain or your disappointment. We all need to live our own lives. We aren't here to fix each other but to be here for one another.
So the next time you feel like telling someone what they should or shouldn't do, please stop and think and see if you can reframe your words more positively or perhaps just sit quiet and listen - but then I'm not here to tell you what you should do....