Shoulda, Woulda, Coulda
The modal verbs always seem so negative to me, so full of nagging, regret, and unfulfilled promise.
Stress can thrive in an environment where someone is always telling you what you should be doing, thinking, or feeling. Worry can abound when you’re dependent on someone else’s vague excuses based on “I would have done…” when you know there’s a big if in there. “Could have” always seems so regretful. It speaks of missed opportunity.
We don’t have to hear these words from others, either. We can whip ourselves with them and in doing so, drive out serenity and fill the empty space with sadness, regret, anxiety, and stress. Words of regret rob us of sleep due to our revising the past over and over. The might-have-beens in life are always numerous once you’ve got some decades of life behind you.
That’s the problem with regret. It’s pointed back to the past. You can’t live there.
You have to live in the now. In the now, you are powerful. You are helpless to alter the past, but in the present, you have the strength to lift yourself up and do the things you dream of doing.
To get moving on that, you need to embrace what you’re doing, all the time. Mindfulness? You bet! When you’re mindful, you’re not just observing yourself as you work. You’re “there” when you’re on autopilot flipping channels, wasting time, not really relaxing but drowning your present in the drug of miscellany.
The present moment is forgiving. We all have bad days, days where we get nothing done, days where events go out of control due to events beyond our control, and our best efforts at establishing a beachhead of mindful awareness get plowed under. It can happen.
If however you can look back on your day, and take even just a few minutes to experience your own living self in the here and now while releasing such a stressful day, you’ll carry less of that stress into the next day.
After all, there really isn’t a next day, is there? There’s just the now, and it keeps rolling on. I encourage you to abandon the “coulda, woulda, and shoulda” mind frame, and keep on dwelling in the here and right now. Pay attention to yourself. Pay attention to what you’re doing, this very moment.
Don’t forget: If you own this moment, if you live in the present, you are powerful. You have the ability to shape and reshape your life as you choose to, but only now, in the present.