People feel proud of their ‘should achievements’ in life. They like feeling that their life, in the eyes of others, has had meaning. This means fulfilling the ‘should achievements’, the life goal accomplishments that society says that we should achieve. For example your choice of career, being in a marriage, having children, participating in certain hobbies, upholding a religion and participating in traditional cultural ceremonies (i.e. weddings, Christmas).

People are often more willing to tick off these ‘should achievements’ than risk pursuing their life’s true calling. The most desperate of these is marriage. Most adults prefer to have been married, become unhappy in the marriage and then divorce, or remain in the unhappy marriage, just to say that they have been, or still are, married.

Marriage is a social construct of an ancient time that has no real meaning or requirement. It isn’t important to someone who is free from life’s should burdens. Two people can love each other, be together forever, or less than that if they want, and be happy.

Marriage is about status. It’s a should status. Society, for no good sense reason, values the institution of marriage, and people who participate in it have status in Shouldland, even if they are bitterly unhappy. Often they enjoy this status and go off their own life’s true path to maintain this status. It’s just a piece of paper!

People are so proud when things turn out as they believe they should. They feel so much pride at the supposed achievements of their children. I recommend that you don’t be proud of what you think that your children have achieved. If their success can be attributed to you, then so can their failures, probably more so; as a person, their values, and their level of selfishness. Check out the movie ‘Everybody’s Fine’ to see how pride messes people up.

People are forced to lie to you when they know that their choices in life don’t live up to your sense of should, the pride that you feel in having things just so. It can often come between the two of you and will strain your relationship. I urge you to not have shoulds or pride, just be, and let them just be. You can have ambitions for people, even push them a little to be the best that they can be, it just must not be based on this pride that you need to feel, these ‘should’ roles that you live by.

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