You know how I’m a big fan of semantics? I think the words you choose are important in life–far more important than most people give them credit for. After all, novelists painstakingly pore over the exact word to use to perfect a line of dialogue, a setting, a scene, a mood, and more. Why don’t we put the same effort into changing the words we use by habit so that they are no longer hijacking our narratives? Take back control!
In this blog post, the phrase I want replaced is “should have,” because those two words just seem shrouded in negativity. After all, there’s a sense of remorse, guilt, and shame in those words, a sense of being stuck in the past. Have anyone ever told you not to use the words “what if”? It’s a similar idea.
There’s no point wondering “what if,” just like there’s no point regretting what you’ve already done with what you “should have” done. You have to move on! Look ahead!
So what should you replace those two words with? “Next time.”
Instead of thinking, “I should have been more careful,” think, “Next time I WILL be more careful.” The focus has shifted to learning from the mistake or the flaws in whatever’s already been done. The focus has shifted to improvement!
Grammar-wise there’s much more strength in the future tense of WILL than in the passive tense of should have or would have, anyway. Can you feel that shift in power when you say that shift in tenses?
Okay, enough of my being a grammar nerd or logophile or what have you. It’s the same when talking to somebody else. Instead of making them feel bad with “You should have double checked,” tell them in a more constructive manner, “Double check next time.” It’s like you’re saying, “You have another chance, so do it right then!” And you have to give yourself that same chance when talking to yourself. After all, remember my post about silencing negative self-talk? Treat yourself like you would treat a friend.
It’s really as simple as that! Concept-wise anyway. Habits are hard to change and doing so takes a lot of time. Do not get disheartened. This will be another form of exercise. Shifting something as seemingly trivial as this will shift something greater–your mindset. And your mindset is the most powerful thing you have!
P.S. Special surprise! Letting you know there’s going to be another exciting new post from me tomorrow! Keep an eye out on my social media, like Twitter, because it will not be posted on Gallantly, gal 😉