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  • Writer's pictureStacy Taylor, LCSW

Could-a, Would-a, Should-a

Life can be difficult at times. Perhaps one of the most difficult parts is when we second-guess ourselves and berate ourselves for decisions that we made.

For instance, perhaps you moved out to Oakland a couple of years ago from the south. Your friends stayed there, and have bought houses and gotten married. Maybe you wonder whether you should have remained there and sometimes kick yourself for moving.

Or you left a job for another one for which you seemed better suited. But, unfortunately, things haven't worked out that well. The excellent supervisor with whom you really wanted to work has left for greener pastures. Your new boss is a micromanager who stresses you out.

Disappointments are unavoidable in life. But we can make it much harder on ourselves through "could-a, would-a, should-a."

When we kick ourselves for the decisions we have made, we act very unkindly towards ourselves. We must often make decisions with inadequate information. If, for instance, you knew that the terrific boss was going to leave soon after you arrived, you may not have taken the job. But life doesn't always give us the advance notice that we might want.

And, of course, there is no way to know for sure whether we made the wrong decision. The expression, "the grass is always greener on the other side," fits here.

Maybe you married Joseph and things are harder than you expected. You may fantasize that if you married Benjamin instead you'd be happier. But, of course, there is no way of knowing whether this would be the case.

If we end up disappointed in our choices, whether in love or work or anything else, it's important to forgive ourselves. It can also be helpful to learn from the experience so we can perhaps make a happier decision next time. To move on from an unfortunate decision, try to banish the "could-a, would-a, should-as" as much as we can . . although don't make this another "should" as well!

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