Should vs Want

Should is dangerous. It keeps us from our true selves, from our real desires. Should paints a picture of life expected by others dictating how to respond/feel, what to do/say/think, who to emulate/admire/despise, when to do these things, where to do them, and for what reasons.

I listen to should all the time. My house is clean, my family is well fed, and our finances are stable. The problem is, want won’t leave me alone. Want was once quiet, nearly impossible to hear because I was so busy with should. When I slowed down, want started to tap my shoulder.

At first, I could satisfy want by bargaining. “I will do what I want after I do what I should”, I told myself. The problem was should began to use the one more train. Just one more load of laundry, one more room to clean, one more item to cross off my to-do list.

                                  Should vs. Want

Pressure and stress began to manifest when the should of others and my want no longer aligned. Repeatedly, I had chosen to listen to the voice of others telling me how to behave and feel. I feasted on articles and books written about self-control, dedication, determination helping and encouraging me to ignore my own voice.

Want was not going away. It grew louder and louder until it was screaming into my heart. This internal battle was exhausting and I could not find a way to win.

For me, should and want are both positive choices. Should is full of planning for the future, keeping myself and my family healthy, maintaining healthy relationships. Want is full of putting my family first, self-care, and following my dreams. Neither are destructive or hurtful so why are they embroiled in a never-ending war?

Balance, I was out of balance and had been for a long time. Should had been my only choice for years. The pendulum had swung so far in one direction and now it was swinging back into want. It’s time now to listen to my heart and follow my dreams. It’s time to write.

What does following your dreams look like? What is it that you want? Is should or want winning in your life?


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