Hoopalicious' Blog

language opens worlds

If I could go back in time to whoever created the words "should" and "supposed to", I would walk right up and punch them in the face. These two words are responsible for the unnecessary mental suffering of millions of people, if not billions. You may argue, "well, we need those words to describe truths in our human experience!" My response to that is a strong MAYBE. I see it more as a chicken or the egg kind of thing. Words describe our experience, but they also create whole worlds of possibility that perhaps might not exist without the words to describe them. Take the Amondawa people of Brazil, who have no word for "time." It has been observed that they function in a very different way then us cultures that wrap every moment of our lives around the concept of time. Of course this is also due to their, close-to-nature, lifestyle. But were you to teach these people what "time" is, I wonder if we would not see an introduction of new emotions related to the concept of time. Fear, anxiety and worry are all closely attached to time in many cases of internal suffering. "It's too late.", "I'm too old.", "I don't have enough time." etc, etc. 

I have long suspected that people who speak different languages have a different internal experience and understanding of life. Eskimo's have an ability to talk about, thus understand, snow partly due to their 50 descriptive words for the icy wonder. There are 96 words for love in the sanskrit language to english's ONE. If language describes what we think and feel, imagine what worlds would open up if we adopted 95 more words for love??

Ok, back to "should" and "supposed" or I should say, "supposed to". "Should" is to blame for more guilt, self flagellation and ridiculously high expectations for ourselves and others than perhaps any other word in our language. "Supposed to" is a close and interchangeable second to blame for our cultural addiction to blame and shame. Imagine if these words didn't exist. Instead of saying "You should have gotten more successful by now." Perhaps our conversation would sound more like "I am not doing what I want to in life yet. Perhaps I can change my tactics or go back to school." Or when pointing the finger at others; "You are supposed to be a better listener!", could instead be; "I feel like you don't listen to me sometimes." I don't know about you, but it seems obvious to me which will work out better for communication, and overall happiness. 

SO, I propose eliminating "should" and "supposed to" from our language as much as humanly possible. SO much, that the thought forms attached to these words begin to no longer be an option for your mind and heart to engage in. Instead of blame, shame and guilt we can choose instead to operate on the level of acceptance, possibility and creativity. Sounds nice, doesn't it? We should get right on that... oh, wait. Just kidding. haha!

As always, we are all in this (joyously) together!

xo Anah

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