I have three enemies. When any of them come to visit, even if it is for a brief period, my day is disrupted and my soul disquieted. They know where I live and hiding from them doesn’t work. Often they show up unannounced and are never deliberately invited. At least not any more. Occasionally one shows up alone but, in the blink of an eye, the other two are right there.
In the not too distant past they were not only invited but were actually welcomed on a regular basis.
They’ve shown up at the darnedest times and places and always try to harass with unflattering words. Never once have they said a positive thing. One wonders why they were ever invited or welcomed.
Their words and condemnation are subtle. They sound good and contain an element of truth. The insidiousness is that the words produce guilt and misgiving. No life change. Just regret.
The three enemies?
Should have, would have and could have.
You may be wondering why they are my enemies. I know that is a very strong word. It might sound dramatic but I have found the effects to be devastating.
When I entertain should have, would have or could have with regards to a particular situation I am automatically going to have regret and wish I had done something differently. It is easy to look back at a situation and think I might have done something differently. The flaw with this, though, is if I am looking back I probably have more information now than I did when I made the decision and yet, there is no going back.
An example of this would include the evening when my Mom passed away. She was elderly and was temporarily living in a nursing home/rehab situation until we could make a decision as to the best permanent living situation for her. Family members were there every day with her. MOMD and I visited with her the evening before she died, kissed her and told her we’d see her the next day after we got off work. I had no sooner arrived at work the next day when I received the phone call telling me she had died.
The last month or two I have had the thought that I should have been there with her when she passed away. There was nothing to indicate that she was any closer to passing away when we left her that Wednesday evening then any other evening. As a matter of fact, she was more chipper and a little more animated than she had been for quite a few days prior to that night.
There is absolutely nothing to be gained by revisiting that evening and yet, every once in a while, I wonder why I didn’t see the signs. When I think logically about it I know that there is no use in going over it. And so I move on but not before the thoughts appear and try to take me captive.
More productive helpful memories are the ones when I was there with her. The opportunities we had to be together before she was ill.
When I focus on the things that went well I don’t have time to think about the should have, could have and would have.
I have come to realize that should have, would have and could have are thought patterns that became familiar because I allowed them to become so. I’m changing that little by little. Learning from past mistakes or choices is different than self-accusatory thoughts about the past.
I’m choosing to look ahead instead of backward. And those 3 enemies? Not welcome here.
Do any of my three enemies visit you on occasion? Do you consider them enemies of your peace? If so, how do you get them to leave? Please tell us about it in the comment section below.
Thanks for stopping by today.