Shouldawouldacoulda, and don’t forget ifonly…
How often do you second-guess yourself? Probably more often than you think. I should have turned right – now I’ll be late, or, if I had only left a few minutes earlier, I wouldn’t have been caught in the rain. Had a jumped on Apple stock years ago, I would be a millionaire now. And finally, sadly, if only I could have spent more time with my grandmother before she died.
I also have shouldawouldcoulda in my vocabulary. I admit, I have so many regrets, I don’t know where to begin. My biggest one is if only I had the foresight that I have now, I wouldn’t have wasted so much precious time on an unfulfilling career. I could have been more successful sooner, rather than just starting out. But I have learned how to handle these regrets, and I don’t allow them to take over me and how I live my life.
Maybe you’re haunted by regrets from the past that you just haven’t shaken.
Shouldawouldacoulda and ifonly… Think about why these phrases are so destructive to our souls. Well, starting with absolute negativity, what you are doing is boxing yourself in by your regrets without forgiving yourself. You are placing the label “wrong” in this situation, and thereby not giving yourself a chance to be “right” and accept what happened.
One affirmation I go by is, You cannot make a mistake. Without stumbling from time to time, we’re not growing. We make choices based on our knowledge about ourselves at the time. You did the best you could do with what you knew. We may not be aware of the repercussions, and that’s okay – we didn’t know. And above all, we can’t change the past.
If you would like to work on forgiving your past, here are some guidelines to help.
1. Having some regrets is actually a positive thing. They can help make you strive for better. Instead of mourning the experience, think about what you can learn from it. What might you do differently if given the chance?
2. Humans are not perfect! And the fact, and interesting thing is, your regret shows that you are mindful and want to do something about it.
3. Be mindful of trash talking yourself. Listen to what you are saying, and figure out a way to rephrase it to something positive. For example, you can turn “I’m such an idiot!” into “Next time, I’ll do better.”
4. Beware the Gremlin (inner critic for those of you who aren’t familiar with my term, Gremlin). And here they are again, beating us up. Why are they attacking us? Because they are telling us that we did something wrong, and we should forever regret it. They’re protecting us from having it happen again. But, it’s not helpful for moving forward.
5. Embrace your positive traits. Tell yourself that despite this happening, you have survived and even thrived by being X, Y and Z. Love what makes you special.
There are so many other ways to move forward. Turn away from living in the past, and start to focus on the present. If you are constantly looking back, you can’t see what’s ahead of you.