Fallacy Of Should – 10 Insights and Tips To Change Perspective (2024)

The Fallacy Of Should can do so much to harm our mood and limit what we get out of life. Yet, it’s incredibly common.

Below, we’ll discover what the Fallacy Of Should is and how to stop yourself from falling victim to it. 

In my role as a life coach, I am often helping clients understand and master their thinking patterns, so they can thrive in their day-to-day lives.

Indeed, by gaining mastery of your irrational thoughts, your happiness levels will often skyrocket beyond their current norms. 

That’s why I’m excited to share this guide with you. 

So, let’s dive in… 

Fallacy Of Should
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1. What Is The Fallacy Of Should?  

Put simply, this is the inability to differentiate how things are in real life and how they should be

2. The Fallacy Of Should Examples

Here are some examples you may have heard from others.

“I don’t need to lose weight. Guys should like me for who I am.”

“I don’t like approaching women. Women should have the guts to approach men.” 

“I should be able to get a job without doing an internship.”

“People should buy my book without me having to market it.”

“The government should make it easier for people like me to buy a house.”

3. This Fallacy Prevents Us From Making Changes

It often forces us to avoid personal responsibility for the things we don’t like about our lives.

We think: it’s not our fault we don’t have what we want, because the world should be like this. We’re the victims and the rest of the world is to blame. 

This mindset often prevents us from taking the steps that will lead us to success in real life. Instead, we’ll wait for the world to magically become the way it should be. Or we’ll just complain forever about how we’re being held back. 

4. This Fallacy Makes Us Less Satisfied With What We Have

Whenever we’re stuck in the fallacy of should, we focus on what isn’t.

By concentrating on what we don’t have, we lose satisfaction for what we do have. 

This only does bad things for our mood and overall mental health.

While it’s good to strive for more in life, it’s also healthy to be grateful for what we have.

5. This Fallacy Makes Us Less Fun To Be Around

Maybe you’re disciplined enough to limit your Fallacy Of Should to your own self-talk. In fact, I hope that’s the case for you.

After all, if you’re always mouthing off about how things should be a certain way, it’s going to come across like you’re complaining. 

That’s not effective communication if you want to make friends. It’s well-known that people prefer to hang out with optimists. 

Emotion is infectious. Positive people make others feel good. Pessimists and complainers drain others. Smart people will avoid those engaging in negative emotional expression too often.    

6. How To Avoid Falling Victim To The Fallacy Of Should

The first step to overcoming this unhelpful mindset is to be aware of it.

Next, you need to catch yourself thinking that something should be a particular way. 

You’ll need to become aware of the difference between how things are and how you’re feeling they should be.

Then, finally, you’ll craft a plan to move forward based on the real world. 

It can be tough to do this alone. Many people find that working with a therapist or life coach allows them to catch themselves spiralling in unhelpful and debilitative emotions far quicker. 

More importantly, an accredited life coach will be able to help you move away from your irrational thought process and create a plan that will serve you well in the real world. 

7. What Are Emotional Fallacies?

This is the term given to negative emotions that aren’t based on reality.

In all honesty, these are most of the difficult emotions we experience.

For example, fear and anxiety is caused by what we think is going to happen in the future. We can get upset because we think we won’t have the ability to achieve something in the future. 

We can also get upset at the belief that we caused some other person to feel a certain way, even without any evidence that this is the case.

At their most extreme, these fallacies can cause debilitative emotions that prevent our effective functioning throughout the day. 

All for no reason. 

8. What Are The Seven Emotional Fallacies?

The Fallacy of Should is one of seven emotional fallacies commonly mentioned by psychologists.

Below, you’ll find a short summary of the other six.

The Fallacy Of Approval

This is the belief that it’s vital to obtain everyone’s approval. 

Those who suffer from the Fallacy Of Approval will regularly go against their own principles to make people like them. Often, this person bases their whole personality around other people’s satisfaction. They’re often labelled ‘people pleasers’.

Whenever it appears as if someone doesn’t like them, it can cause debilitative feelings of anxiety.  

Fallacy Of Approval sufferers are therefore anxious a lot of the time. After all, it’s impossible to please everyone.   

The Fallacy Of Over-Generalization

This is the idea that a single flaw represents everything. 

Sufferers tend to make broad statements like: “Men always cheat” after one unfortunate relationship.

They also tend to beat themselves up with statements like “I’m so stupid” after making one mistake in their job.

This type of thinking is close-minded. Typically, it will limit one’s opportunities in life, as well as causing a lot of anger, bitterness and negative emotion.      

The Fallacy Of Causation

This is the belief that one person can control another’s emotions. It’s is a false idea. The truth is: while a person can control their own actions and feelings, we cannot control those of others. 

When we suffer from the Fallacy Of Causation, we often filter our words and limit our emotional expression, for fear of our behavior upsetting others. 

The Fallacy Of Helplessness

The Fallacy Of Helplness is when one believes they aren’t in control of their own destiny. 

Sufferers hold the belief that there’s nothing they can do to progress to a life with more happiness. As such, they feel helpless. 

A sufferer might develop illogical conclusions like: “I can’t help feeling this anger so often. I was born this way.”

When learning a new skill, they might conclude that there’s no point because they “can’t do it”. 

This is another way to dodge personal responsibility. Often, someone will voice their supposed helplessness when they want someone to complete a task for them. 

The Fallacy Of Perfection

The fallacy of perfection is based on the belief that it’s possible to be perfect. 

Sufferers are constantly thinking how to appear perfect in the eyes of others. It forces them to be inauthentic and alter their own behavior. Plus, they’re always trying to double-check they didn’t upset anyone. As such, they tend to be emotionally exhausted most of the time. Happiness is always a distant goal for them.   

They will be very hard on themselves when they ever slip up in the pursuit of perfection. They wil experience a lot of negative self-talk and debilitative feelings of wanting to be better. 

Related: The Fallacy Of Catastrophic Expectations 

The fallacy of catastrophic expectations is the belief that if something bad can happen, it probably will. This causes a lot of stress, even though there is usually a limited amount of evidence to back up their fears. 

9. What Is The Fallacy That Appeals To Emotion?

Although there is a significant difference between all of them, none of these feelings are particularly appealing. They rarely lead to positive emotions. In fact, they all cause undesirable feelings and lead to unhealthy emotional states.

It’s completely avoidable, since they’re all based on false ideas or irrational thinking. 

10. What Could You Do To Minimize Debilitative Emotions?

Hopefully, you now understand how emotional fallacies can cause debilitative emotions – and why it’s worth taking steps to avoid falling victim to them.

Debilitative Emotions
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The question is: how?

A great start is to work on being in the present moment. 

When you’re present, you’re not stuck in your emotions. You’re too busy focusing on your actions.

Maybe you’ve noticed how you’re not worrying about your problems when you’re completely  engrossed in an activity.

Sun Tzu has a great quote about this. 

He said: “If you are depressed, you are living in the past. If you are anxious, you are living in the future. If you are at peace, you are living in the present.”

I have written a whole list of proven ways to empty your mind. But, for now, I want you to recommend that you get in the habit of throwing yourself into a task as quickly as you can. 

Don’t get caught up in worrying whether you can do it, what might go wrong, what people might think or how things should be. Just count backwards from five and get started. 

This is easier said than done if you’re prone to suffering from debilitative emotions, but it should be your goal nonetheless. 

Beyond that, speaking to a therapist or life coach can be helpful too. These professionals are trained to help you better understand your behavior and your emotions, as well as develop a more useful perspective.

If you work together with an accredited life coach, you can have complete confidence in their ability to speak with you with a professional, confidential and effective communication style. 

Any More Questions?

Thanks for reading my guide! I hope it helped you improve your knowledge of this emotional problem – and the negative influence it can have.

If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments section. At the same time, perhaps you’d like to share another common Fallacy Of Should example?

It would be great to speak further and hear your conclusion on this interesting subject.

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About The Author

Bijan Kholghi is a certified life coach with the Milton Erickson Institute Heidelberg (Germany). He helps clients and couples reach breakthroughs in their lives by changing subconscious patterns. His solution-oriented approach is based on Systemic- and Hypnotherapy.