It is casual to think that someone else should or shouldn’t do something and completely overlook our own double standards in the process. For example, someone may ruminate that people shouldn’t litter, as they overlook some trash in a parking lot. This person may even think that the store “should” clean up the parking lot. This type of thinking, can leave us feeling terrible about ourselves. When we do what we think we “should” we let go of trying to blame other people for how we feel.
One day, while asparagus hunting, something that we do, out in the sticks, in Idaho, I noticed all the trash along our road. I began thinking that I “should” pick it up sometime. I wanted to pick up the trash, so I thought; I “should” bring a garbage bag with me the next time I go. Days later, I set out to get myself more of the yummy green stuff. Then as I started to hunt, I noticed the trash. I remembered that I had intended to pick it up this time, but I had forgotten my garbage bag. As I continued hunting, making my way home, I forgot all about the trash. I completely dismissed the idea of cleaning up the roadside.
A couple of days later, as I peered along the road, looking for asparagus, my eyes zeroed in on some trash. Once again, my thought returned to me – I “should” clean that up. When we returned to the house, I took a Hefty Trash Bag from its box, and headed down the road, to retrieve my treasures. Action I had not taken previously was becoming an opportunity – a chance to stop what was obviously bothering me. Following through with what I had originally intended was the only solution – I really could let go of the notion that people “shouldn’t” litter.
I had strengthened my problem, with regard to the garbage, by thinking that people “shouldn’t” litter. I thought people “should” stop throwing trash out. I wanted to hold the people who littered accountable. I thought it was their duty to clean it up, not mine. I also inadvertently tried holding the people who did the littering, responsible for what I didn’t like seeing. This kind of mental battle can go on indefinitely if we try ignoring the word “should” when we hear it.
The trash was not bothering me; however, I did find these recurring thoughts annoying. Not to mention the insistent direction to do what I “should”. The only solution was, for me to take action toward what I had tried ignoring. The answer was, for me, to be accountable for what I wanted. Why was I responsible for picking up the trash that others had discarded? Because I thought I “should” do it; moreover, I was the one who wanted the roadside cleaned.
Finally taking action toward what I wanted, I set out to follow my intentions. As I drew near the end of the road, I heard myself think, I “should” keep going. Doing what you “should” is something that only you can appreciate; even so, you can affect your world, by doing it – it’s not what we do that is acknowledged by us, as much as what we don’t do.