Saturday, May 7, 2011

The “Shoulda” Virus

By Julie Rahm

The Black Plague is estimated to have killed over 100 million people during the middle 1300s. The awful epidemic is believed to have reduced the world population by an astounding 30-percent. And, more recently, the Spanish Flu pandemic in 1918 killed another estimated 100 million people. Throughout history diseases have come and gone causing devastating effects. Lately, I have noticed a less deadly, yet debilitating disease. It is a disease of the mind. The symptoms are subtle and characterized by regret. This regret is caused by the dreaded “Shoulda” virus.

People are often unaware they are inflected with the “Shouldas”. Their symptoms surface during routine conversations. As a recent example, one of my friends said he “shoulda” stayed in the Navy. If he had stayed in the Navy, he would be retired and living a more leisurely life. This retrospective regret is extremely unhealthy. In fact, we don’t know how his life would have unfolded if he stayed in the Navy. He certainly would not have the wonderful family he has now. You see, contrary to popular belief, life happens perfectly. Challenges simply mean we are still alive. The challenges placed before us provide the opportunity to learn our intended life lessons. Our challenges provide resistance. We must do the work in order to overcome this resistance and build our character. And, in the process we develop into the persons God intended us to be.

Unfortunately, the “Shoulda” virus infects our minds and inadvertently focuses our attention backwards preventing us from moving forward in our lives. If you continue to have the same negative life experiences, you have not learned your intended lessons. One of my girlfriends continues to date bachelors who are not good partners. She continues to have negative experiences because she hasn’t yet learned her lessons. Until she does the work, learns and develops her character, she will not have good relationships. The “shouldas” keep her focused backwards and mired in what “should” be instead what she needs to do now. She often states, “I should have a loving husband”. But, her character flaws are still firmly entrenched in her personality. Her potential worthy suitors flee the scene. She doesn’t move forward. An important key to happiness is the ability to learn and work through lessons of life. Avoid the “Shouldas”. Those parasitic “Shoulas” will drag you down and disrupt your focus. To get restarted in the right direction use my metaphorical tools. Use the flashlight to examine what is going on in your life. Find that “Shoulda” virus and pluck it out with the pliers. Then hammer in a new framework for learning the lesson at hand and moving forward in your life. Measure your success with the measuring tape and be surprised at your progress!

Visit Julie and get your copy of Military Kids Speak during her book signing on Friday, May 13 from 5PM – 8PM at Mitchell Hardware during the Art Walk in New Bern.


Alay'nya said...

Good blog, Julie, and a good reminder for all of us!

Melinda E said...

I love this post Julie! It was just what I needed to start my Monday morning with this week. It reminds me that instead of fooling myself into believing I SHOULD have done something "better", I COULD focus on what I have and be grateful for the opportunities that I now have before me. :-)
Melinda Enfinger

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