Wants, Needs and Shoulds

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Wants, Needs and Shoulds

I just wrote this hoping Teal reads it.

Wants, Needs and Shoulds

The classic categorization of actions is Wants and Needs. Needs being something for your existence or survival, and Wants is more for your pleasure. However I believe there is a 3rd category that I will call Shoulds. When someone's action comes from a place of Should, it is primarily driven neither by by Want or by Need, but is something they do anyways.

Here is some examples - Politeness or courtesy, which is arguably a healthy form of Should. When you tip a waiter or waitress, you don't want to give extra money for your bill. You don't need to. But most people do it. Likewise for other forms of courtesy such as please and thank you. Another example, say a man with a poor relationship with his family members goes home for Christmas. He doesn't want to, in fact there's nothing he wants less, every time he visits them it makes him feel awful. He doesn't need to. But he does it because he feels he should. The Should is really putting aside your want or need to give in to what other people want or what society wants.

When it gets toxic is when Should starts to outweigh your own Wants. Some people are raised in a household of Should. Their parents say you should talk like this, dress like this, should follow this career path, etc. As a parent they decide their job is to tell the kid what they should Should do. The root of this is ego. The parent's ego makes them believe they are masters of knowledge and know exactly what's right for the child to do. Of course the biggest reason for the parent acting is way is it's likely they are also driven by the Should. This told them, telling them everything they should do, is how you Should parent your children.

When that child grows up they continue to be dominated by the Should. Their personality is how they feel they should act around people. They go to school for a job they don't like because they felt they Should have that job. They date or marry who think they Should be with. All their actions are as if their invisible parent was hanging above their shoulder telling them what to do. They beat themselves up over what they feel they should be feeling, but can't. They feel they Should be happy, but aren't. They feel they Should be in a loving relationship but aren't. Sometimes, they are so deep down the rabbit hole of acting the way they Should and doing everything their parents told them to do, that they don't have the self awareness to realize their emotions and their interactions are not honest, they are just an imitation of what they feel life or socializing is.

If they could get away from what they Should do and instead go towards what they Want or Need to do, perhaps this would be a weight off their backs. Their lives and their emotional health would belong to them, not the people who raised them. The question is how to make that transition.

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