One of my pet peeves is people who “should” all over others.  You know the expression, “Don’t should all over yourself?”  Well people tend to “should” on others as well.  And it peeves me off.  It’s meant with good intentions of course but it’s an unresourceful approach.  People do it because they don’t know any better.  They want to help and this is the best way they know how.  So they say things like “you shouldn’t feel that”  or “You shouldn’t take it that way”…

Essentially, this sort of approach has the effect of denying a person’s feelings. No one likes to be ignored or denied.

NLP presupposes that the map is not the territory.  They way people should feel or respond to situations (given your perspective) is the map and how they really feel is the territory and you don’t know anyone else’s territory, you only know your own.  You can’t ever really know what the right response is to any situation.  You may know a more resourceful one then someone else’s but you don’t know that, guided with the right resources, they may find one that is even more suitable for them.  When you “should” all over others you rob them of the gift of discovering for themselves what hidden resources and perspectives (gifts) they may have at their disposal.

If you really want to help – don’t give them any answers, rather give them better questions.  Explore either on your own or with them other perspectives they may not have considered.

“Gee I wonder what else could have happened ?”

“What else is going on in your life?”

“Tell me more about different ways you could interpret this situation?”

“I once had a friend who had the same thing happen to her, or felt the same way etc… and she said that she thought it was the best thing that could ever happen to her because (insert other plausible perspective)”


Are you getting me drift? It’s much more disarming and powerful to explore and invite curiosity rather than denying people’s feelings in any situation.  People can feel more than one thing and give more weight to different possibilities.  If you only give them the opportunity to see what you see and more (that you may not even see because you don’t have their life experience).

Now, there’s something you can do to really help someone and you just may learn to see the world outside of your own lens in the process.