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Why You Should Never Say “I Should Have”

Alissa Okrent
Alissa Okrent
Written by Alissa Okrent

Appreciation is about paying attention to this moment in time…being mindful, aware, and conscious of the ability to choose our actions at every moment.

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I should have ….. stayed calm, exercised, left the cookie on the plate, made that phone call …


I hear this phrase: “I should have …” and I cringe. Why? It sounds and feels very depleting, creates low self-esteem and slows our creativity.

So, instead, take a breath, a really deep breath, and create the space between the knee jerk, high anxiety, fight response and turn it into something that supports you. Check in with your inner voice, which I call your Souls-Compass to pause, redirect and get grounded. When I do this, I appreciate returning to the clarity of this moment. What I notice for myself, each time I invest a great deal of energy into a task, I need to regroup. Have you ever considered what you need?

Appreciation is about paying attention to this moment in time…being mindful, aware, and conscious of the ability to choose our actions at every moment. Noticing the pattern for yourself is the key piece. Even when I know it’s happening for me, I’m human and I forget, yell, scream, cry, and then feel I need to apologize to myself and others for this awful outburst! Just this morning, I walked into my kitchen and exploded! There were piles of papers, letters, magazine, cups and scissors, all over the place. The scene in front of me pushed me over the edge. What caused my intense reaction? I had just completed a full weekend of organizing a huge event at our high school – 3 full days, full of activity, lots of joy and lots of energy! However, during that time, I had neglected keeping my home organized.

I was frustrated with myself for the internal talk: “I should have done this…..”. Although I had no energy to take on the cleaning task, my Soul knew the energetic balance that needed to take place. Before I did anything else, I cleaned this up and instantly felt better inside. Once I created the space for pause and took a deep breath, my whole system calmed down, resulting in clear appreciation for myself!

Look around your home, office and/or desk, and notice what you feel. Where can you take a moment to clear out even a small corner, to clear the mind and allow collective creativity to rise?

Summer is just around the corner. Warmer temperatures, a deeper connection to beauty in nature, more daylight, higher energy. I am setting my intention to catch myself in the “I should have…” cycle before it escalates.

Buddha said: “With gentleness overcome anger, with generosity overcome meanness, with truth overcome deceit.”

What will you choose to do next time your mind says: “I should have…”?

Identity Magazine is all about empowering women to get all A’s in the game of life – Accept. Appreciate. Achieve.™ Every contributor and expert answer the Identity 5 questions in keeping with our theme. Their answers can be random and in the moment or they can be aligned with the above article. As a team, we hope to inspire and motivate ourselves and inspire you to get all A’s.

What have you accepted within your life, physically and/or mentally? What are you still working on accepting?

I have accepted that I am a very busy and diverse woman, and I would not be happy without a variety of interesting responsibilities. Many people ask me how I accomplish what I do, and I no longer feel the need to explain it. I truly accept, that I will be involved in many different arenas, and that simply sitting is not who I am. Even though at times, I wish I could be different.

What have you learn to appreciate about yourself and/or within your life, physically and mentally? What are you still working on to appreciate?

I appreciate that my husband and I, after 30 years of marriage, continue to be open and able to have the hard conversations, even when I would rather crawl into my book and read. I am fascinated with our relationship, that after so many upheavals, long term stress, and joyful experiences, we continue to challenge each other in loving, and not so loving ways.

What is one of your most rewarding achievements in life? What makes YOU most proud? What goals and dreams do you still have?

Celebrating our 30th wedding anniversary this past July! There is so much to say, about long term relationships, and the twists and turns that arrive during the journey……….. my goals are to bring sunshine and light into the next decade of our marriage!

We all have imperfections, so we think. The truth—we are all perfectly imperfect. What are your not-so-perfect ways? What imperfections and quirks create who you are—your Identity?

I have accepted that I can be very opinionated, which at times results in feeling awful that I have created an argument, when I was simply trying to express my thoughts. Mentally, I feel drained when this occurs, and physically, I want to disappear. I accept, that I continue to work at this difficult element of who I am, knowing my intention is always from a loving space.

How often do you take the time out during the day to verbalize what you love about yourself? Do you experience more negative self talk than positive self-talk?

I catch myself in my negative self-talk, look in the mirror and smile. Then I find something to be grateful for in the that moment, and reframe the words. This is certainly one of the most challenging habits to change!

“I Love My…” is an outlet for you to express and appreciate all the positive traits that make you…well… YOU! Sharing what you love about yourself will make you smile, feel empowered, and uplift your spirit and soul. (we assure you!) Identity challenges you to complete the phrase “I Love My…?”

I love my tattoo – my tree of life, representing my focus and perspective in choosing to live each day. It has taken me many years to take this “plunge”. This past June, My closest friend passed. Not only do I think about her each day, I feel her in my body. When I look at my beautiful Tree of Life, I remember that I am here, living and she is part of my emotional strength.

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About the author

Alissa Okrent

Alissa Okrent

Alissa has 25 years of experience as a fitness and wellness professional. She received a BCC credential in Life Coaching, a certified fitness trainer through American Council on Exercise since 1987 and most recently has completed her Master Certification as a Soul Language Practitioner. Through her own life’s journey, Alissa has evolved a passion and commitment to sharing her special gift for overcoming day-to-day struggles, defusing tension, relaxing, laughing and moving with grace and ease by aligning mind, body and spirit. She now shares this gift with you!.

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