I think a lot about language sometimes, and what our word choices mean. When you start looking at how patriarchy and capitalism shape the way we refer even to our lovers, how property descriptions can refer to people, animals, or non-sentient things, you start to see the power of language.

Ever read 1984? I’m sure most of us have. Kind of creepy. The psyche of populations controlled through words. Even people’s thoughts were controlled. Through words. Words are incredibly powerful. But then, we’re blogging and/or reading blogs, so I guess we already know that.

So, language. This isn’t an abstract theoretical post, and it isn’t about the current political climate (though, realistically, what I’ve said above applies strongly). It is about the shoulds. The shoulds came up in therapy last week.

“I should like my job…” I began, at one point.

She gave me a look. “I always notice when people use the word ‘should’ because it is generally a sign that people are trying to force themselves to think something or feel something that they don’t actually think or feel.”

Should. It seems so innocuous. We use it all the time. I should do laundry. I should make dinner. I should…

But she’s right. I shouldn’t like my job. It is completely wrong for me. The people, the management, the micro-management, the boredom, the…the everything, really. I shouldn’t like it, I’d be crazy to like it, because it makes me miserable.

What I really meant by that statement is that I expected to like my job. I’m disappointed that I don’t. The powerful thing, and perhaps the scary thing, is that once I replace the word “should”, it is no longer a fault of mine that I don’t like my job. It is what it is. It isn’t the right job for me. No failure on my part or theirs (though I might argue that last a bit). It is what it is, and I need to move on, hopefully to a job I will like better.

It makes me wonder where else the ‘shoulds’ encroach on my life. I’m keeping an eye out for them now. I’m on to their tricks.

bofa

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