When people “should” and they don’t

Isn’t it frustrating how often people do things they shouldn’t?

He shouldn’t talk so loud.

She should apologize. 

She should pay for dinner since she “owed me.”

They should ask first.

He should drive slower. 

They shouldn’t argue at the table. 

We believe so. We think we are just observing the facts. Likely most people would agree with us. The world would be a better place if people (family and strangers) would do what they just ought to do. According to us. 

But is that true? Are we observing the facts?

Not according to the people we talk about. They may not even be aware of our instruction manual for them. And if they are aware, as it happens in close relationships – they still don’t want to change and fulfill our wish. And then we make it mean something about us and our relationship. (I’m not covering this big topic in the post) 

This is one of the most popular topics in coaching. 

And time after time, when we finally see it is a Thought, we see that we create suffering for ourselves thinking the Thought: “They should…” 

Even though your life would be better if people changed, this is simply not the reality we live in. 

People do what they do. 

We do what we do. And if we tell ourselves “I should eat less” ,“I should write more”, “I should reach out”, “I should be more out there“- we often are not able to follow our own manual for ourselves. And yet we want everyone else to guess and follow ours. 

Are you creating your own unhappiness by thinking about what others should do? 

When you realize and accept it as a fact, there is no way to control other people; you can decide what you want to think about it, how you want to feel about it. And maybe you will choose to feel resigned, or neutral, or forgiving. That conscious choice will feel better than being affected by others’ actions.

As long as we truly know what is a fact. There are no facts that “should”. And separating our thoughts and opinions from the facts can already be a huge revelation. 

Trying to control other people is like trying to control the weather. Pointless. There is more freedom in observing what is.

When people don’t do what they ‘should’ we likely also don’t.