I've been thinking a lot lately about why I don't care for interacting with certain people or why sometimes my closest allies sometimes irritate me the most. And as I was pondering this frustration and hurt, I realized the problem, and that I too am a culprit.
You should. Those are two words put together that I absolutely cannot stand. I hate hate hate when people tell other people, particularly myself, that I SHOULD be doing something, and here's the biggest part, when I don't ask for their advice or opinion.
Yes checkout lady at the store, my hair is sticking out all wonky and I should think about doing it differently, but hey, it's walmart, people don't come here to show off, they go to tarjay. duh. (just kidding, but sometimes I totally know what those checkout ladies are thinking!)
And yes, I realized I TOTALLY do this to! To people I love, to people I don't really even know! How rude is that! and yes I really do not care for when a stranger tells me what I should be doing. oh really madame in your mercedes? I should be parking less close to the line so you don't worry about scratches on your car? well guess what, I'm in my lines, and yes ladies and gentlemen, I kept right on walking!
Anyway I've realized that its super prevalent in our society that we like to tell one another how to live our lives. and why do we feel we have this right? maybe it's because we care about that person and want to see them happier or looking cuter or maybe we see that they are having certain problems because they are causing them all by themselves. But even those situations when we really could be changing someones life, if they haven't asked for your opinion or your help, it means they aren't ready to change. and that is most definitely the hardest one for me, I hate to see people struggling when they could just adjust one minor thing and have their world a totally different place.
When I got divorced everyone kept telling me I should go to counselling and that I should not go to the singles ward or that I should get married tomorrow or I'd end up a spinster. But I went to counselling when I was ready, and yes, it was life changing, but only because I was ready. And I went to the singles ward when I felt ready, and got married when the time was right, and it just so happens my husband is the best thing to ever happen to me. I know we all mean well when we tell someone that they should do this or they should do that. but chances are they already know what they should be doing, and they are working on their own timetable with God on getting there.
But, you may be thinking, I KNOW there are times when I should "You Should" someone. Yes, there are most definitely times. I think those times are when someone asks us what we think they should be doing, when they really are asking for our help and opinions. And in those instances, our you should's need to come from a place of love and gentleness, because when a "you should" like that is needed, it's often needed when we are at our weakest and most vulnerable.
And then there are the times when we all need to "You Should" someone when really we want to yell at them "YOU NEED", but that would be rude so we use you should in a manner to tell someone off in the most loving way possible. Examples, when someone is crossing boundaries you or your family has set, and they know better. Then it is perfectly acceptable to tell them that they should back off, or stop or whatever it is you need to say to get them to be respectful to boundaries.
Also when someone is a total stranger and they are doing something completely inappropriate, like touching your baby's hand in the supermarket. While it's the normal momma bear thing to want to scream that they need to back 10 feet away immediately and provide 10 bottles of hand sanitizer as an apology, the most polite thing we can say is "you should stop touching my child please" or "lady, you should back off slowly before I start blowing my rape whistle", whichever floats your boat.
And sometimes we you should someone when they complain and complain and complain. Don't get me wrong, we ALL need that friend that we can dump our complaints on when they just listen and don't tell us how to solve our problems, and then after you get it all out it's your turn to listen to their complaints and then you both move on, feeling happier someone listened and understood and that problem that seemed so worthy of a complaint now seems so easy to tackle, all because you got the feelings out of the way of the situation and can now approach it with more strength and zeal. But if you aren't that kind of friend, complaining endlessly is inappropriate and unacceptable. It takes a special friend to be your understandable complainer listener to. You know, that one special friend. and their occasional you should is acceptable because usually it consists of " you should totally take allll your coupons and your largest shopping list to that clerk that gave you the stink eye and make them scan each coupon and read you the final price!" as you laugh at the wonderful thought of sweet revenge on that walmart clerk that dared give you the stink eye.
Yes, we all need that friend.
And something I've had to learn the hard way is that instead of saying "we should" or "you should" like if the person doesn't the world will fall apart, we must say things in a loving, supportive, openly patient sort of way.
That way we can build off of one anothers ideas and strengths and really listen to their opinions and ideas, because honestly those are what really matter, when it comes to their life. Instead of saying "We should do this and this because you should have done this and that and so now we have to do this", we could say "what do you think about this activity or idea, what do you think about that saying or that color". Then we show that we really love the person and we want them to succeed in their endeavors or their life. Its a much better way to convey how we feel about them.
And when we see those strangers who we really think should not be wearing flip flops and knee high socks, we must smile and continue walking.