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I Wish We’d Stop Using This Word

I Wish We’d Stop Using This Word – Caroline Dawson

Please try this experiment with me – It’s will take moments.  Just substitute a couple words for another and try the change on for size. Ready?

Let’s substitute “Wish” for “Should”:

“They should do more.” vs “I wish they would do more.”
Just semantics? Try it on.  Say each out-loud:
“They should do more.”
(I’m sitting here hypothetically typing out this scenario and just saying this statement out loud I feel my jaw tighten and I’m ready to be on the defensive. – How about you?)
 vs.
“I wish they would do more.”
(I found myself taking a breath right before saying this sentence out loud, and considering what I might need help with. )
Should: My defenses are up. I already know I’m in the right and “they” are wrong.
Wish: I acknowledge I need help. I’m thinking about options  – and I wish they would help me more.
Let’s try another one:
“They should stay in their own home.”
(My eyebrows furrow just saying this. Again, I’m feeling defensive like it’s my job to guard this statement regardless of consequence and if I don’t I have failed. …I should have tried harder.)
vs.
“I wish they would stay in their own home.”
(Sometimes wishes illuminate great goals. This statement prompts questions – what would it take for them to stay in their own home? In what circumstances would it not be feasible to do so?)
Should: (Closed minded) “This is the only (right) way.” “All other options are wrong and equal failure”
Wish: (Open minded) Wishes can light the way – and that light often reveals obstacles clearly. This is helpful because it reveals concrete needs that need to be addressed.

This word: should does not help you, your loved one or client and I wish we’d stop using it.AgeWise Focus

This word makes it more difficult to plan for and provide care for your aging elder. And here’s why:
Should shuts the conversations down and shames. It creates barriers in a situation that needs support and cooperation. Wish, well, a wish isn’t going to suddenly manifest assets or options or a spare caregiver. What it does do,  is open us to 1. Acknowledging the Need and 2. Considering solutions.

Here’s what flipping the scrip – and substituting “Wish” might really look like:

“It shouldn’t cost so much.” (End of thought.)
…”I wish it didn’t cost so much.” (continues the thought)  “This costs more than can be afforded.” “We either need to make a different choice about care or find more financial support.” “Hey what ever happened to that VA Aid and Attendance application?” “Maybe we need to talk to a finical advisor?” “Who can we ask for support or guidance?”

AgeWise CompasA Compass Guide Us

There are many choices ahead. What will be your guide? The thought stopping combo of Should & Shame OR your concrete needs, illuminated by wishes?
Next time you are on the giving or receiving end of a Should – give Wish a try.

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One Response to “I Wish We’d Stop Using This Word”


  • Lisa Moody / / Reply

    At one of the NAPGCM (before it was ALCA) conferences, there was a speaker who played a bit of guitar and had a motivational talk for us. He said, “Nobody likes to be should upon.”

    That has stayed with me in how I communicate with my family, my employees, my clients, and pretty much everyone I come into contact with. Thank you for the great blog!!


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