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Should’ve, Would’ve, Could’ve


Self-Help Must do - Stay in the present, stop living in the past, or focusing on what the future would look like.

Why - Part of enjoying life and living in happiness means you need to be present for those moments that offer enjoyment/happiness. Remembering to smile and laugh on cue, not just when presented as a memory or a dream.


Stop questioning what should have, would have, and/or could have been. It is okay to dream, but you shouldn’t consume your life with dreaming. Live through life confidently. You only have one, and it passes by quickly. You don’t get another one. Truthfully, you’ve attained many goals already, but you are blinded by the exacts. What does that mean? Let me break it down in an example from my own life. As a child, my dream was to get married in my twenties, have five children with the same man, etc. Instead, I married out of necessity at 39 and have two children by this man. I could be upset about things turning out differently than I expected. Yet, I am grateful that I am not stuck in a dead-end marriage and have children at all. I have a family, and although it looks different than what I thought it should look like doesn’t mean that I am not happy. Or that I should even regret the choices that I made that put me here. Without him, I probably would not have had any children, and this would be a more significant disappointment. I enjoyed having my son; I only regretted not having more than one. When the opportunity presented itself again, I took the opportunity to be a mother for the second time. Did I really want to have a second child with the man who did nothing for the first one? No, but I am more than pleased that I decided to rise to the challenge when I was pregnant again. Without my second child, I would not have been as fulfilled. It also helped me realize that I don’t need five. Two is enough for me.

Yes, other scenarios could have played out in my life. I could’ve made choices to stay in a different state, which would have led to me never meeting my children’s father. But if I only focus on what I could have done to make things different, I lose out on the moments that I can actually inject change into my life. How can we make this situation now better, not worse? One way to ensure that we are making a change where possible. Okay, I don’t have five children, but taking care of 5 alone would be much more challenging than 2. No, the marriage didn’t work but had I married him when I was in my twenties versus my late 30’s I might have felt trapped in the situation. Having lived and raised our son by myself for nine years, I was confident that I didn’t need him in my life, although I might have wanted him there from time to time.

Staying in the present is key to the positive emotions that you will invoke about the here in now. It forces you to be grateful for the things you have, and you might even learn to be satisfied with the things that have not occurred. Living presently gets rid of the should’ve, would’ve, and could’ve. These are those second-guessing statements that add fuel to the fires of negative self-talk, confidence, self-worth, and a whole host of other personal issues. Looking back doesn’t do any good. Look back when thoughts or memories bring happiness and joy to your life. Otherwise, continue to look to the present. Yes, I know it is easier said than done. BUT this has been the purpose of this journey we are taking together in the first place. We are dealing with difficult circumstances, and it is hard to be happy and complete people sometimes.

Gain some mental tools and exercises to help with the right here and right now. When you find yourself getting lost in your thoughts, present or past; Stop yourself from drifting, allow the environment to call you to attention. Focus on a sound, smell, or sight right in the here and now. Once you focus on the present, begin to find beauty or substance at the moment. What makes this moment worth cherishing. Is it the ability to sit and take in the moment without interruption? Is it the fact that your children are doing something childlike that can bring you joy? Do you have an s.o that you can snuggle with at the moment, a friend to call, a show to watch, a bath to take, air to breath, etc? There is so much to be grateful for; you don’t want to miss the opportunity to bask in it. Whether you realize it or not, you could be like so many others who are no longer here to enjoy the moments that you are taking for granted.

If there is nothing in the environment particularly inviting, change the scenery. Get to your hobby, meditation, prayer, group activity, or outing. Take yourself from the mind back into the present. Spend less time telling people on social media how great your life is and actually enjoy it. I often feel that people who post all the time about their feelings, what they are wearing, eating, or going are searching for a village. By village, I mean a group of people to support, cheer on, and correct when necessary. We all desire a village. Use your village to help comfort you when you find that the present isn’t living up to expectations. There is always something to be grateful for, even if it is just the fact that you have another day to try to make a better day.


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