The following description of the words “woulda coulda shoulda” sometimes applies to the experience of being in conflict: “For many people, there is a clear distinction between what actually happened and what they wished would have happened in a given situation. Sometimes, people realize a number of options they could have or should have taken instead of the action they actually took. This feeling of regret or second-guessing is summed up in the expression woulda coulda shoulda.”
It is easier in hindsight to consider what may have been a more productive or constructive way to manage a conflict. The time and energy wasted with self-blame replete with woulda coulda shoulda language can be all consuming. Commonly, our recriminations also add to continued tension between the other person and us. Even criticizing ourselves for things we did not say or do when we had the opportunity creates discomfort for those who listen to our plaints.
Why do some of us engage in woulda coulda shoulda recriminations? Previous ConflictMastery™ Quest(ions) blog topics suggested a number of reasons such as unresolved issues, lack of reconciliation, and continuing emotional investment in the matter. Low self-esteem and guilt also contribute to this state of reacting. These and other reasons and combinations of them vary from situation to situation and do not exist in all the conflicts in which we participate.
When self-blame prevails though, it is an opportune time for us to assess the wouldas couldas shouldas of the situation - to check out the reality of what we wished we had said or done. This week’s questions aim to help readers conduct such an exercise with yourself.
What other ConflictMastery™ Quest(ions) may you add here?
Originally posted on www.cinergycoaching.com/blog/