Leaving Shouldville

Leaving Shouldville

July 24, 2021 ◊ By Jackie Simmons

Leaving Shouldville

Shouldville is a weird little town that has lots of places to live and very few reasons to live there.

In Shouldville, people hang out and talk about all their reasons for not moving out. After all, most families have been living in Shouldville for generations – sharing lots of shame and blame and very little happiness.

In fact, happiness is reserved for the people who leave on vacation to visit their “Happy Place.” People who try to bring their happy place back with them to Shouldville are shunned. It’s OK to have a memento or two that you talk about with nostalgia, or even a sense of sadness, but actively being in your Happy Place around “Shouldees” gets you ostracized.

For me, vacationing in my Happy Place didn’t happen very often, most of my days were spent in Shouldville, participating in “should-fests.” Should-fests are the main activity of Shouldville residents (“Shouldees”).

You can spot a “Shouldee” by their tendency to start should-fests. A should-fest is any conversation with yourself or others that starts with “I should” or “They should.”

Should-fests often become competitions to see who can make the other person (or yourself) feel the worst. It starts with a simple: “I should’ve known better.” or “They shouldn’t have done that.”

In my home it often started with “What made you think that was a good idea?” and rapidly escalated into a full-out should-slinging contest.

Should-slinging contests happened often in the lower end of town where I was raised and I wanted no part of it. I dreamed of moving to the upper side of Shouldville.

On the upper side of town live the “Should Masters.” These are the elite, they pass in polite society based solely on their ability to mask their should-fest invitations in the guise of positivity.

A Should Master can mask their opening salvo so it sounds like a question or even praise.

What I learned was that even a Should Master still lived in Shouldville, and Shouldville is a dark dank place where lives get lived and dreams go to die. I wanted out and discovered a way!

The way to move out of Shouldville is to STOP participating in or inviting should-fests! In other words, stop “shoulding” on yourself and others!

The fastest way to stop “shoulding” on yourself and others is to read the following, out loud and often.

Every penny I have ever spent was well-spent – even if I would not choose to spend a penny that way today. This is how you live a life free from money guilt.

Every second I have ever lived was well-lived – even if this is the last second I have to live. This is how you live a life of free from time regret.

Every word I have ever read, every word a teacher ever said was useful – even if I disagree with it. This is how you live a life free from negative judgement.

Every Person I have ever met enriched my life in some way – even if I would not choose to spend a second with them today. This is how you live a life free from blame.

If you truly want to leave Shouldville and live a life free from guilt, regret, judgement, and blame so that you can spend more time in your Happy Place, follow the directions above, repeat often, and stay away from Shouldees!

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