Shoulda, Coulda & Woulda

A recent post and comments on Mamamia got me thinking about my three least favourite faeries, Shoulda, Coulda and Woulda and their pernicious knack for making us feel bad about ourselves, our lives and our choices. I think that Shoulda, Coulda and Woulda are friends of Gloominus Doom but they were too sneaky to choose to show up in a deck of cards, plus, when it boils down to it, they probably didn’t really want to help people like all the other fae in that deck. No, what these three do best is whisper in our ears about how differently we should be doing things, or how we could be doing so much better if only… And worst of all about how we would be doing things if we really wanted to but don’t because we are afraid.

At the end of the day, whether we joke and call them faeries whispering in our ears or the negative tapes we play in our heads, should, could and would are all about expectations. The more attached we are to our expectations the more it hurts when life doesn’t match up with them. Can we ever really do away with them altogether? No, I don’t think so because in moderation and the right context, expectations are important. We should expect to be treated with respect and dignity and notice that something is wrong when we aren’t. We could be kinder to ourselves but often aren’t kind enough because we don’t want to be seen as selfish or self indulgent. We would do more but so often we are tired from doing so much that leaves us feeling drained of energy and enthusiasm.

So what do we do about Shoulda, Coulda, and Woulda? Should we let them take over? Could we learn to ignore their whispering? Would we be better off if we did? Hmm. Doesn’t look like it does it. The insidious trio gets in everywhere, even when you are trying to be positive. Maybe, just maybe, we can learn from what they whisper to us without taking it to heart, listen to their words without taking it personally and seeing it as a personal failure or shortcoming. Maybe, Shoulda, Coulda and Woulda can help us after all because whenever they come whispering they whisper about what can we do better in the future, they whisper about lessons we can learn from the past, they whisper about living life as it is meant to be lived- to the fullest.

You know, maybe they aren’t my least favourite faeries after all…

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