I've often wondered about this when people tell me I have to do something:
...are we utilizing the correct vocabulary? Do I really HAVE to or would you just prefer that I do?
While this is a latent question that only really surfaces when I hear someone ask "can I go to the bathroom" and my inner-English-teacher silently shouts "MAY YOU," I was blindsided by an article I clicked on accidentally earlier which discusses the difference between "should" and "must" (hence the title of this post).
I have more and more often questioned the things I am told (verbally or otherwise) that I SHOULD do. There are conflicting messages, of course: societal pressures of what is "normal," my parents being my cheerleaders and telling me to "go for the gold" and "be whatever I want to be," and at the same time hoping that I choose something that works in society and that doesn't make me a stranger to it.
I think I'm torn. I want the "should" because supposedly I should...right? But the Must is the ever-constant tugging at me, making me defiant in the face of hoity-toity-ness and greed and hatred and evil and being unkind. Even as I write, though, I don't necessarily believe that society or culture say that we should be THOSE things...so why do I feel so rebellious against them? Maybe society says nothing at all about those things and to say anything at all is to be rebellious and to yield (FINALLY!) to our inner "Must."
I find myself hating "the nine to five"...I don't think I know a single human being who says they LOVE the nine to five. What does this all MEAN? That we all KNOW that we must not do it, but that we SHOULD? Who said so? Clearly no one I've ever spoken to about it. Do you? Do your friends or family? Does anyone think we SHOULD do the nine to five? If not, then how did it become the "should" that our inner "must" is rebelling against and why is it so hard to break free of?
One of my favorite parts of this article is where the author pulls a quote from the book she bases it on:
...Just TRY and tell me that those words don't stir up the "Must" in you, anxious to explode into being, existence, life...just TRY to tell me you don't relate with every fiber as you read the words about your inner self. I doubt that you can (I know that I can't) and yet it is quite likely that you are someone that is doing something you should...most of the time. My hope for you, though, is that your should begins to meld with your must in such a way that your "must" DRIVES your "should."
I must travel the world because my inner self believes that is what I should do in order to fulfill my purpose and life on this planet for the brief time I am here! Fulfilling our purpose is something society tells us we should do...this is a good combination of should and must that you can justify...
I must use my skills and passions to help others because it is the thing that MOST makes me feel alive and I should do it because it is good for society and for others. "Must" is for me...the reason others give for my must-actions, in this case, is the "should."
In the end, you already know, what others say will not determine how well you live your life. It will not determine if you are a good or a bad person, if you are accomplished or not. If you do not do what you MUST, though...if you do not comply with the fibers of your being that beckon you away from the norm toward whatever your true calling is...then you will fail yourself...and THAT is the greatest failure of all. So do what you must, and feel free to tell people that whatever their desire for your life is (from the outside perspective) - they should start using the correct vocabulary for it.
Inspired by The Crossroads of Should and Must.