Please don’t say, “You Should…”
“You should…” is the last thing you want or should have to hear from friends and family during a difficult season.
Yet when our lives are in chaos because of the loss of a loved one, a broken relationship, a lost job, or a serious illness, it seems to be the natural reaction of those well-meaning folks who want to help us. You see, it’s part of the faulty co-dependent gene that most of us have floating around inside us that makes us feel like it’s our duty to fix people.
But as this quote from Louise Hay says perfectly, the “You should” statements are extremely harmful — not helpful.
“You see, I believe that should is one of the most damaging words in our language. Every time we use should, we are, in effect, saying “wrong.” Either we are wrong or we were wrong or we are going to be wrong. I don’t think we need more wrong in our life.”
When we’re in difficult seasons, our lives are dominated by chaos and grief. We’re simply not capable of accepting and acting on coaching or advice. And that’s especially so when when the coaching or advice points out that we are not handling things the way someone else thinks we should. It just makes us feel worse. Less adequate. Less able to cope.
When you’re in a difficult season, you’re just trying to cope, to put one foot in front of the other, to get through it.
What you need and want is someone to be a quiet affirming presence in your life. Someone to listen. Someone who is interested in what it’s like to be in your shoes today. Someone who intuitively knows what you need and provides it.
What you don’t need is someone who wants to fix you. Someone who is uncomfortable with your pain and justs wants you to “be normal again.” Someone who’s quick with the “You shoulds.”
So please, don’t say “You should…” Do say, “I love you.” Do say, “I care.” Do say, “I’m here to listen if you want to talk, otherwise I’ll just hang out with you.”