Getting Rid of "I Should Have…"

Photo Credit - Colm Britton

Photo Credit – Colm Britton

There is one very destructive mental habit that will prevent you from having success.  It is this little phrase “I should have.”  All of us use it.  We think it and speak it every time we have a regret over something we have done or a mistake we have made.
But what is the result of this little phrase?  Does it really solve anything?  Does it help us “get it right the next time?’ “Do we use it’s partner in crime, ‘I wish I had…’?”
I would propose that this little phrase results only in guilt, a bad attitude and accomplishes nothing productive.

[inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”@BrianMininger” suffix=””]”I should have,” is a nasty little phrase that we can ban from our vocabulary[/inlinetweet]

Why is this phrase such a problem? It is not empowering. It doesn’t not give us the hope for a different action in the future.  It just lays on the guilt for the past.
For most of us the use of this little phrase is a habit that we learned a long time ago. It has been passed on to us by many generations of parents who used it with their children.

  • “You should have put away your plate.”
  • “You should have done your homework.”
  • “You should have cleaned your room.”
  • “You should have gotten better grades.”
  • “You should have taken that shot.”

Does all of this sound familiar?  I know I have done this with my own children.  Somehow guilt seems to get better results… In the short term.  But, in the long term it is defeating and takes away our motivation.
So how do we break this habit?  I believe we start by becoming aware of how much we use this phrase.  Then we need to replace this in our vocabulary.
Here are some empowering substitutions.

  • “I am thankful for…”
  • “I regret that I…”
  • “Next time I will…”
  • “Please forgive me for…”
  • “I am not proud of the fact that I…”
  • “I have learned that…”
  • “I am changing…”
  • “In the future I will…”
  • “I would appreciate it if you would…”
  • “I prefer that you…”
  • “What can we learn from…”

All of these phrases take give us the power to make a different choice in the future.  They acknowledge our failures (Because none of us are perfect) and give us hope for a different outcome in the future.
All of us need more hope.  There is enough discouragement already in the world.  Let us rise above together and remove this guilt and replace it with Hope.  There is no place for “I should have” in the fulfillment of your destiny.

What are some phrases that you would suggest for replacing “I should have…”?

Share your thoughts in the comments below


2 replies

Comments are closed.