This is part of the You Can Change Your Life Series.

Are You Haunted By Would Have, Could Have, Should Have?

The would have, could have, should have phrases that can sometimes play out in our minds are nothing but stifling, negative and destructive.

And there have been times in my life in which I have been riddled by these conditional phrases.

I have beaten myself up for not having spent more time with my father and sister before they passed on. I have regretted not savouring each precious moment I had with them and remembering to celebrate the love we shared every day whilst they were still here. I have tormented myself for having taken so many long, painful years to start pursuing my dream career. I have berated myself for not saving 1 penny of money whilst I had such a substantial income and for spending every dime on meaningless superficialities. I have judged and pigeon-holed myself as a failure for not being more of a conventional ‘success’. I have wished I could go back in time and nurture truly special friendships that I allowed to dwindle away. I have churned over so many lost opportunities to partake in activities that truly made my heart sing at University and thus meet like minded people.

But I have come to realise that the would have, could have, should have phrases fundamentally:-

  1.    Reinforce a negative view of yourself
  2.    Inadvertently make you somehow ‘wrong’
  3.    Keep you trapped in the past

So let’s just clear this up, nice and quickly.

Let’s Start Living Unconditionally

All of the scenarios in which you think you should have done X, or you could have done Y, or you would have done Z, are conditional.

They are conditional on a world that was other than it was at the time and on you being other than you were at the time.

If you could have done better you would have.

No matter what, you did the best that you could at the time, with the knowledge that you had at that time.

By living in an unconditional way, you allow yourself to be who you are. You accept yourself completely. You begin to embrace who you are totally and you love yourself entirely.

And As For The Word ‘Should’…

Should is a word that you can eradicate from your vocabulary now and forevermore.

It keeps you locked in claustrophobic world of judgement, regret and conditional love. Instead, feed the energy of kindness, acceptance, understanding and compassion within you and watch it grow.

Wouldn’t you prefer to create a loving world around you in which there is freedom to dance your authenticity, to express yourself fully and to live joyfully in the present moment?

Would Have, Could Have, Should Have And Letting Go Of The Past

Some of us have more of a tendency to look back at the past but we all do it.

The trouble with looking back and wishing that things had been other than they were is that you actually spend so much of your time living in the past.

You can’t change the past. It has been and gone.

If you keep living in the past, you are missing out on the present moment and therefore are creating more lost opportunities, thus adding to the chain of regret.

All you do is keep on feeding an energy that you weren’t acceptable exactly as you were and we don’t want you to feed that energy anymore.

Instead, turn your focus to the present.

Make peace with who you are and where you are right now.

Empower Yourself In The Now


Right now, you can make the changes that you want. You really can. You can take the action now that you will not regret.

If you could fast forward in time and look back at yourself now, what would be the one thing that, if you didn’t do, you would regret most?

Such an important question.

Whatever the answer is, do it.



Make yourself a promise that, from this day forward, you will do everything that you can to live your joy and be true to yourself.

You can’t change the past but you can absolutely take command of the present.

With all my love,


4 thoughts on “Are You Haunted By Would Have, Could Have, Should Have?

  1. Steve

    I love that idea of living in an unconditional life. Would have, could have, should have. Why not live in a life of do or don’t? The way I see life is that it’s too short to live in what might have happened. All you can really do is look back and learn from what’s happened and move forward. I try to take as much action as I can because that’s what’s going to make my life a lot more satisfying down the road. You regret more of what you didn’t do.

    1. Jess Post author

      That is so right Steve! It is always what we didn’t do that we regret later, not what we did do. Every moment, every day counts. It is about starting to make your dreams come true today and focusing on what truly matters in your life now.

      Cheers buddy


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