It shouldn't be snowing this much.
The plows should have come by now. The power should not have gone out. Comcast should have better service. People should appreciate me more at work. I should work harder. My kids should behave better.
Each one of us has an internal almost nonstop dialogue of shoulds. I could come up with many more. (Maybe I should have.) But I hope this is enough to resonate.
How real are these shoulds? We have expectations of how we want our lives to be. How we want to behave and how we want others to behave around us. How we believe our leaders and nations around the world to operate. And we believe, strongly, that the world would be a better place "if only" if operated the way we think it should.
To paraphrase Byron Katie, though, in a battle between what you want and what is, reality always wins.
The snowstorm comes, the boss doesn't get it, the kids yell and fight. This is human life. This is the beautful mess we live in.
We create suffering when we insist on pining for a world that is different than the one we have. Can we accept the world as it is, even as we try to change it? Can we see that, despite our thoughts, that everything is really OK? That nothing is missing?
A first step is to see what happens to our shoulds in a moment where we have no thoughts. Look at the new snow first thing in the morning. Where are your shoulds before you start thinking about them? You can survive a second or two without them, right? Who are you when your shoulds are gone?