I am an analyzer.
I am introspective.
I am sometimes borderline neurotic.
Over the years, I've gotten a better handle on personal boundaries and being proactive rather than reactive. But not always. Recently, I've found myself saying, "I should have..."
I should have spoken up more.
I should have done this instead of that.
I should have kept my cool when my kids were fighting with each other.
I should have just stayed out of a conversation that didn't have anything to do with me.
I should have...
Should have is a reactive statement and self-defeating. It doesn't build me up. It tears me down. It leaves me clothed in guilt and regret. The glass is half-empty.
Recently, I have learned a new technique. Instead of saying "I should have..." say "I would have preferred to..."
I would have preferred to have spoken up more in that situation. Thank you, Lord for helping me to see that and I pray that you would give me the boldness and confidence to speak out when appropriate and to use my tongue wisely.
I would have preferred to do this instead of that. I am not going to beat myself up over this, but will remember these preferences as I face similar situations in the future.
I would have preferred to keep my cool when my kids were fighting with each other. Instead, I yelled. I could have handled the situation better and will humble myself and apologize to my children for losing my temper. I will lead by example of how to respond to anger and frustration.
I would have preferred to stay out of a conversation that didn't have anything to do with me. Instead, I joined in the gossip. Going forward, I will be intentional about not involving myself. I may even come up with some simple one liners to politely excuse myself from the conversation such as, "I'd prefer not talk about that."
Saying "I would have preferred to" instead of "I should have" gives me power over my own emotions and reactions and allows me to be proactive and focus on the future rather than remaining reactive and focusing on the past of all the things I should have done.
Instead of I should have... say I would have preferred to...