We've all been there – those moments when we find ourselves trapped in a cycle of negative self-talk, dwelling on missed opportunities, and regretting past decisions. The "should've, could've, would've" mentality can be a heavy burden to carry. It can steal our joy and blind us to our blessings. We wanted to explore ways to break free from this pattern, whether it occasionally gets in the way of our happiness or full-out sabotages our life.
Inspired by one of our former guests, psychotherapist Blaine Lawson, this episode has us looking at how to shake loose the grip of regret, silence our inner critic and help us appreciate our “perfect imperfectness”. Remember, fretting over the past doesn’t help. Let’s leave those “alternate realities” to movie and TV show plots and accept where we are in this present moment.
Changing our mindset also helps us build a better future because every setback is an opportunity for growth. Instead of allowing failures to define us, let's use them as stepping stones towards a better version of ourselves while we trust God’s timing in our lives. Are you ready for some change? Click play for actionable ideas on how to get rid of “should coulda woulda” once and for all.
Listen to: How to Stop Negative Thoughts from Holding You Back (w/Psychotherapist Blaine Lawson)
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Sandy Kovach [00:00:02]:
In life, we have successes and setbacks, but why do we get stuck so much on the negative half of that? The setbacks, the mistakes, the quote, unquote missed opportunities? We can really get ourselves into what we're calling here the shoulda, coulda, woulda mentality. Inspired by one of our previous guests, psychotherapist Blaine Lawson, and who we talk to about how negative thoughts can hold us back, we thought we'd tackle not just negative thoughts and self talk, but also regrets and all the shoulda, coulda, woulda things that we say to ourselves. For the next 20 minutes or so, we're going to pull from some experiences we've had, as well as expert advice, and hopefully get over this shoulda, coulda, woulda mentality. Welcome to Imagine Yourself podcast, where we help you imagine the next chapter of life with grace, gratitude, courage, and faith.
Lanée Blaise [00:00:55]:
Hello, everyone out there. This is Lanee here with Sandy. And we have been thinking, thinking back to an episode that we'd had a few months ago about negativity and negative thoughts and negative self talk. And we were acknowledging the fact that it is very easy, especially in today's world, to drift or even spiral down into the abyss of negativity, where you just can lose hope. You can forget all about the good things that are actually going right. You can forget all about how much goodness and beauty that there is inside of the miracle of you. You can start taking yourself for granted, your life for granted, all these things. And Sandy and I decided that we were going to try to draw from some of the good and helpful things in this world to pull us back up when things seem like we're just falling. And so I hope that this episode is truly helpful, truly a blessing for anyone who listens, because we needed it, and we figured some other people needed it too.
Sandy Kovach [00:02:08]:
Lanée Blaise [00:02:10]:
So, Sandy, a lot of people know Hoda from the Today show, and she wrote a book called I Really Needed This Today. And she has a chunk in there where she has quotes and she tells different stories. But there's a couple of things that I pulled from that book that really kind of helped even the book itself, I Really Need This Today already starts you off great, but there's a quote by Norman Vincent Peele which says, change your thoughts and you can change your world. Yeah, I love that. And then she goes even deeper by telling a story about this country singer songwriter Brett Eldridge. He had admitted that he struggled with anxiety for a long time, but then he began to meditate and those negative thoughts lost all of their power. And the quote that he gave to her was just I just loved it since I figured out how much we chase the millions of thoughts we have every day. And you can either chase down those negative thoughts or you can see them as they are and begin to look at them in a different way. I just really thought that it's important for us to see thoughts as they are, face value, and try to work through it, navigate it through just kind of like we did on that other episode with Blaine Lawson on how to stop negative thoughts from holding you back.
Sandy Kovach [00:03:39]:
Interesting. Hoda and Brett Eldridge. Yeah, well, I love Hoda, and I know Brett Eldridge from being in radio for a while, and I even did country radio for a while. He's a pretty respected dude, and I love that quote. And yeah, I mean, if we can just take these thoughts at face value. I think that's one of the things Blaine talked about is we kind of see these thoughts and we take them in a negative direction, or we tend to that's our default. And one of the things I think we tend to do is when something happens, we look back at it and we see the negativity in it. We regret things we should have, coulda woulda we just repeat in our mind the bad things that happened? Or even just regular things that happened that we say, oh, they were bad, so and so kind of gave me a look. I bet they're thinking that I'm an idiot. The dumbest things go through our mind, right?
Lanée Blaise [00:04:34]:
Yeah. Worst case scenarios. Or what ifs all the bad?
Sandy Kovach [00:04:39]:
So I was watching. Okay, let me just start by saying my husband is very into Formula One racing, and it's kind of a niche sport. It's really big in Europe. I don't think it's really that big in the United States. And I think he got into it during the pandemic. I think Netflix started carrying something, and then it was off, off to the races. So I'm watching, and I'm noticing that, you know how they have to go for the pit stops and stuff like that, and sometimes they have to have their tires changed and do all these things? Well, this one racer apparently made some mistake in whatever tire he chose to change or his crew chose. And from then on, throughout the race, I would say every five minutes, they would hearken back to this guy and what a bad decision he made. I guess they need something to talk about. But I thought, man, that's how we are sometimes when we make a bad decision. Oh, if I only had picked the right tire, I could have won the race. Or if I only had said this, I would have gotten a job. Or if only I had just gone there a little earlier. I mean, just the littlest things to the biggest things, from a little decision to a big decision, like ending a relationship. Oh, I wish I hadn't broken up with so and so. Yeah, regret. And how many times do we do that? Every day? Or at least okay, maybe not every day, but I would say these things come up a lot.
Lanée Blaise [00:05:56]:
Yeah, I used to be that girl who would do that until you're going to fall out of your chair, Sandy. Until the movie The Matrix. I don't even remember if it was the first, second or third one, I promise you. There was Morpheus, and he explained to Neo - Keanu Reeves, he said it couldn't have happened any other way than it did. And that gives me peace.
Sandy Kovach [00:06:24]:
Your world exploded.
Lanée Blaise [00:06:25]:
My world exploded because remember, in The Matrix too, is this whole series of events that leads up to this, that and the other. And it couldn't have happened any other way than it did. And so all of the what ifs and the should haves and the could haves and all of that kind of deteriorated once I really started to embrace that one little line of that one little movie. Because if not you do you live your life as if you have some other alternative? But this is it. This is our life. This is the way it's going to go. And I understand that we could have crafted some great way where we won the lottery and we won the Prince and we're the Princess and all this stuff, but sometimes we are supposed to be the peasants out there singing and dancing and growing the crops and living our lives and having fun that way.
Sandy Kovach [00:07:17]:
You mean there aren't a bunch of alternate universes like in Star Trek?
Lanée Blaise [00:07:21]:
Like in Star Trek. Or everything everywhere all at once? No, these are just movies. Even The Matrix. Just a movie.
Sandy Kovach [00:07:28]:
And even more important than taking the red pill or the blue pill and Neo and all the things in reality, God is in control and He knows everything we're going to do before we do it. And He uses things good and bad in our lives. And we've talked before about how bad things are just part of life. And often we get our best lessons and we look back and see how important they were and when these things are happening. Keeping a sense of humor, if you can, is key. We had a lot of very trying moments in this last power outage that we had, and one of them was my husband was starving. I thought he was going to eat at this work function, but all they had was appetizer. So I didn't get him anything at Panera, but I did have a leftover sandwich and I was kind of saving it, but I was like, hey, you're really hungry, you can have it. How about we split it? That's how it came out. But now remember, the power is out. We don't have a refrigerator. So my sandwich is in a cooler and at this point all the ice is melted and it's just water. And through fumbling around in the dark and all this other stuff, the half a sandwich ends up falling into the water, getting completely saturated and soaked and what can you do but laugh? And of course, I gave him my half the sandwich. I mean, I wanted to eat the sandwich, but it was for the greater good that he got it, and we made it something that we could laugh about, the soggy sandwich.
Lanée Blaise [00:08:59]:
You know, I love to say stuff my dad says. My dad is always like, don't sweat the small stuff. And then he says, everything is small. Just and then how about this, too, Sandy? Though I am a firm believer in that whole kind of, like, fool me once, don't fool me twice type of thing. I know I'm saying it wrong, but the whole aspect of whatever happens this time around, okay, it happened. I'll just make sure that next time around, I will try to do better. And that's the great part about the fact that you wake up every day and the sun comes up and you start over and you get new mercies, and you just try to do better the next day. And many times, if you prepare differently, you think differently, you capture those thoughts in your mind and focus on the more positive thoughts. You slow down. You listen to your body, you listen to your life. Many times, you can do it better the next go round. And so it's one of those things where all is not lost.
Sandy Kovach [00:10:03]:
Yeah. So acknowledge the regret, but don't dwell on it.
Lanée Blaise [00:10:08]:
Sandy Kovach [00:10:09]:
I think it's important to say, yeah, I'm disappointed I did it that way.
Lanée Blaise [00:10:13]:
Sandy Kovach [00:10:14]:
I wish the sandwich didn't fall in the water.
Lanée Blaise [00:10:17]:
Yes, please. But next time, I'll make sure next.
Sandy Kovach [00:10:21]:
Time we're going to organize it differently. We're going to have a power outage plan that involves, I don't know, in this particular case, how you stop a sandwich from accidentally falling in the water. Maybe that's not a good example. Build a grid.
Lanée Blaise [00:10:38]:
You do the best you can with what you got. And you also, how about this? I don't believe in beating myself up, if at all possible. And I also don't want to beat myself up if I do find myself beating myself up. But don't beat yourself up, because sandy I read an article on LinkedIn the other day that said that the number one thing that makes relationships fail. They didn't say money. They didn't say communication. They said it's when you take the other person in the relationship for granted. Now, I know they were talking about romantic or committed relationships, but I wanted to draw that out as far as the relationship that we have with ourself and make sure that we do not take ourselves for granted. That we reinforce the good things and thoughts and aspects and characteristics that we have of ourselves and we work on, in a gentle way the negative things, things that we have to that we're still working on.
Sandy Kovach [00:11:39]:
Lanée Blaise [00:11:40]:
And I just feel like when you run a tape in your head of all the negative things about you or about your life or about everything. It's not helping. It's just beautiful. If we can try to replace that with something else.
Sandy Kovach [00:11:55]:
Yeah, definitely replacing it with positive stuff and not just positive stuff about yourself, but I mean, definitely do that. But I used to be one of these people who was very like, when something would happen, let's use the example of a power outage. Again, I would be this doom and gloom person, like, oh my gosh, we're never going to get the power back. I mean, my goodness. When you compare like a short term power outage with some of the stuff people are going through yeah. When things happen that you have no control over, instead of spiraling down, using that spiraling terminology again into the doom and gloom, if you can just kind of, okay, what's the next right thing? What do I have to do here? It just helps. And try to have a sense of humor, like laughing off the sandwich, dropping in the water or, you know what? If it had been me that was hungry, I can't say that I would have laughed it off.
Lanée Blaise [00:12:48]:
So we're just being honest and real here. But yeah, but like you said, not even beating yourself up during those times when you aren't able to laugh it off either. Because we are human. We are not perfect. Life is not perfect. Nobody ever said it would be. But there are always some glimpses, some good things, some good people that come around. And it tends to be isn't it the case that the good people and the good things are usually the things that are not talked about or bragged about or put on the news or highlighted, and so we can make it our mission to do that more. I'm a writer, so I always kind of take things from the perspective of you have these characters in life, you have these conflicts in life, you have these situations, and everybody has flaws and all those different things. But the great part is there's always these cool things and fun things and quirky things that we have to root for. And if we're able to focus on those, it's great. That's why I feel like we need Sandy. We need more comedies and rom coms and love stories and love songs and all that stuff to come back like it used to be, like back in the 80's.
Sandy Kovach [00:14:03]:
The 90s too with great rom coms, like Jerry Maguire.
Lanée Blaise [00:14:09]:
We need that. And that's something that I'm trying to push into the world, too. Yeah, we need that as humans. Something to escape to and bring that levity and to remind us how to laugh through some parts of life, how to cry also, but how to get a good cry through life and a good laugh out of life, too.
Sandy Kovach [00:14:30]:
So that's one of the things you're working on, bringing sweetness and light into the world.
Lanée Blaise [00:14:36]:
Yes, with my sitcoms, with my films, everything. Yes, and we try to do that.
Sandy Kovach [00:14:42]:
Too, with the Imagine Yourself podcast. But I think part of doing a podcast or writing a sitcom is helping people to feel included and helping people to feel like they're not alone with some of these issues that go on in life. Because if you live inside your brain and getting back into the negative self talk and you listen to some of these things you can say to yourself and everybody does it, you might think, oh, my gosh, what is wrong with me? But somebody who's in the car right next to you, driving on the freeway is probably thinking bad stuff about themselves or ruminating over what their boss just said to them. It's just by acknowledging we all do this, and like you said, accept that we're human. But trying to move on from there, I think, is the key. Not that we'll always get it right.
Lanée Blaise [00:15:25]:
At least try, at least put a little seed, plant a seed of hope in each of our hearts and minds and spirits so that we can make it on through that's, right? The best we can. Yes. So I really enjoyed that episode about how to stop negative thoughts from holding you back, because we had the awesome psychotherapist and behavioral health practice manager, Blaine Lawson, who just happens to be my sister. And she is just I just love her. She's a superhero in my eyes. As far as the field of psychology goodness, Sandy, she truly helps people get through some of the hardest, worst, darkest periods of their lives and tries to escort them up into better, lighter, brighter, cleaner versions of their lives of themselves. She does that her way. You and I do it our way. I think it's what we're built to do, if we can tap into that.
Sandy Kovach [00:16:30]:
Yeah, and that brings up a good point. I mean, first of all, we definitely recommend people going back and listening to the negative self. What's it called again?
Lanée Blaise [00:16:37]:
How to stop Negative Thoughts from holding you back.
Sandy Kovach [00:16:40]:
I thought you might remember. Yeah. So to go back and listen to that one, it's got some good advice from a professional. And of know, we're just here to be friends that are talking. There truly are professionals like Blaine, and there are many, many good ones that are available virtually or going to in person that can help you with that, whether it's a serious problem or it's just something that you wish you didn't do so much of. And I remember Blaine saying, too, though, that even though it doesn't seem like a serious problem at the moment, can really lead to bad roads if you don't stop the spiral.
Lanée Blaise [00:17:18]:
Exactly. I think she also recommended Psychology Today on their website. They give links to help you find a professional in your area, if you're looking for that. I mean, there's so many different places that you can find someone. But that's one of the more tried and trued ways to really get help. If you feel that you need that extra step, or even if you just have an inkling that you might need that extra step yeah.
Sandy Kovach [00:17:44]:
Why not try it especially? I think we've talked about this before. The generation that's coming up, gen Z, they're just so much more aware of the need for good mental health and how mental health and physical health are on the same par, and how you wouldn't be ashamed or embarrassed about talking about, hey, I got to go get a flu shot. But yet you don't want to talk about going to a therapist?
Lanée Blaise [00:18:07]:
Yeah. So to bridge that gap of understanding that your medical health incorporates your body and your emotions and mind is very important. I mean, again, we hope that this little short podcast brought something that landed right in your lap that will help bless you as you move forward. And there's something else that I wanted to just drop on you all real quick before we end here. At the end of that episode with Blaine Lawson, we talked about imagination and how rich and vibrant the imagination of children can be, but how adults tend to underuse that gift and that skill and that love and use of imagination. So in the spirit of that, and in the spirit of the fact that our podcast is called Imagine Yourself, I just want to say for all of us to imagine all the wonderful, beautiful ways that things can go right in your life and let that combat all the imagined negative things that could go wrong. And this is one of the keys that will help us to find our happy places, find and realize our best selves, and imagine the way we want our world to be.
Sandy Kovach [00:19:37]:
We hope this mindset shift can help you turn off a shoulda coulda woulda or as a friend of ours once said, stop "shoulding" on yourself. Thanks for being part of the Imagine Yourself podcast family. We're very interested in what you thought of the episode. If you want to drop down and give us a rating or review, that would help us shape the podcast, and also it helps others find us. And if you'd like to find us, we're at Imagineourselfpodcast.com. You can find our links to socials and how to contact us, as well as other information. We will put that as well as all of our places on social media in the show notes. And if you're interested in going back and listening to how to stop negative self talk from holding you back with psychotherapist Blaine Lawson, which we definitely recommend, we'll put the link in there as well so you can get there pretty easily. Have a great rest of your day or evening or whenever you're listening, and we will talk to you again soon when we have something new to imagine.