Banning The OTHER "S" Word

By: Emily Algar, Guest Blogger

If I could ban one word in our vocabulary it would be “Should.”

You should do this; you should have a proper job now; you should be thinking about settling down; you should really think about finding someone; slowly but surely turns into “I should” and that in the words of Yoda, “will only lead to suffering.”

“Should” makes us feel inadequate; “should” makes us all feel like failures; “should” makes us feel like we’re behind on some invisible schedule that no one bothered to tell us about; and above all “should” tell us that we’re doing, at this very moment, is wrong and what we really “should” be doing is X,Y and Z.

I’m 27. I have a BA and MA; I write for an awesome organisation called I AM THAT GIRL, and I have just begun my foray into music writing. Despite all of this, I still feel like a failure. I am told that I should learn to drive; I should move to London; I should do something with my degrees; and above all I’m not going to achieve anything if I stay where I am.


Now, this does not leave me feeling good. In fact it leaves me feeling like a complete and utter failure. These unnamed characters in my story have held up a mirror filled with my own insecurities and asked me to stare at them. All my achievements and all my efforts have gone unnoticed, and all that it is left is what I haven’t yet done but “should” do.

A dear friend and me had a conversation recently, after I was told once again what I “should” be doing with my life. My friend turned to me and said,

“If people can’t accept where you’re at in life right now, they don’t belong in it.”

It was as if a light had gone on in my head. I realised that we are all works in progress, and the reason some of us will not have ticked off all the boxes on someone else’s list, is simply because it isn’t their list. There is no race or prize for those who finish first, even though it seems like there is. We all may start from the same point but our paths afterwards are completely unique to us, and no one persons’ journey will look the same.  

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Feel pressured to finish someone else's timetable, to cross off things on someone else's "to do" list? You're not alone! Take comfort from Emily's story and quit giving time, attention, and precious energy to the "shoulds." Take your own path at your own pace. You got this, girl!

About Emily

em_a.jpgEmily Algar is an International Relations graduate who has just completed her Masters in International Security. She lives in a small town in Oxfordshire, UK where she writes, listens to music and walks her dogs. Since completing her studies, Emily is trying to figure out where she fits in the world and until she does, she is enjoying the ride.


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