Shoulda Woulda Coulda

Growing up in Texas, well probably just growing up anywhere, your parents always had some saying or thing that they repeated all the time that more than likely drove you crazy. You could probably sit down and write a list of them. “Shoulda Woulda Coulda, but you didn’t” is something that I heard a lot of growing up. It usually was said when I was in trouble for not doing homework or saying something inappropriate and apologizing that “I should of done this or that instead.” I’ve talked a little before in previous posts about adding “musts” into your life. Propelling yourself forward by turning the things those “shoulda woulda coulda’s” into “gotta’s.”

As usual, I haven’t posted in a while. Covid has been weird. I also think that… and I’m going to sound like a total monster saying this but I think that, for some people, it’s been weirdly beneficial. I’m not talking about Jeff Bezos making a gazillion more dollars either. I’m talking about regular people, like you and me, benefiting.

For me, I’ve realized that there were some serious “gotta’s” missing from my life. As this whole thing started, I spent a few weeks in “SWC” mode. Which, if you really dig deep, is basically whining and wishful thinking. “If only I had done X or Y before the lockdown, I’d be in a better place and woest me.” Gross. A little after that, the parental voice started chiming in while I was SWCing and saying “but you didn’t.” Something important to point out is that not a bit of this felt good. It didn’t feel good growing up and it didn’t feel good now. However, I’m better attuned with myself now and how I handle things than I was as a kid. I know about psychology, philosophy and life. So I chose to add my own voice in to say “so, what now?” “Shoulda, woulda, coulda, but you didn’t. So, what now?” This has become the response when that script plays in my head. We don’t always choose the way our brains process information and that internal dialogue can sometimes feel separate from you but you’re still in the position to respond. Even to yourself. Internally. I guess you could go external as well but people are going to look at you funny. External respond at your own risk.

“How does it help… to make troubles heavier by bemoaning them?” – Seneca

“So, what now?” Not very profound is it? Not exactly my best existentialist questioning. But it has worked for directing my headspace to solving a problem rather than bemoaning it. It’s led me to looking at ways that I have been unhappy. It’s easy to find external sources to blame for our unhappiness, which I feel is an extension of SWC. The strength comes from asking “so,what now” and finding a “gotta” to put in place to solve the problem. The problem doesn’t go away over night but if you’re serious about “gotta,” you’ll find a way. You will make it happen. Today. Tonight. Don’t let your dreams, hopes and future turn into “Shoulda, Woulda or Coulda.”



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