Get The Strongie Startup Guide - my fav inner strength-building worksheets - FREE!

How to Stop Spiraling through “Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda”

How to Stop Spiraling by @stronginsideout

With a show of hands, who out there is hard on her/himself?


Oh, good. Me, too. Well, not good, but you know, at least we’re not alone. *high five*

I sold the car that I’ve had for 8 years yesterday and it was way more emotional than I thought! Add the process of selling a car privately and I was left with one big, awkward, icky MESS.

I walked away thanking Source that I somehow covered all my bases. Even so, somehow I’m left thinking, “I couldn’t have done that right.”

I double – no, triple – checked that I’m in the clear, but somehow, my brain keeps saying “WRONG! WRONG! WRONG!” …which translates to: “Not enough! Stupid! Who do you think you are?!”

Thank the powers that be that I have a litany of tools on my belt to stop spiraling, AND that I’ve put in the time to make them habit by now. I immediately called my husband to talk about it, cried it out, took deeeeeep breaths, meditated, asked Source for help, and then, finally, focused on the most important part: forgiving myself.

Forgiveness Is A Superpower

When we choose to forgive ourselves, we are in essence refusing to be victim to the beliefs that don’t serve us. For me in this situation, I’m flippin’ the bird to the belief that I can’t do anything right. I’m rewriting the truths that live within me to align with what’s REAL.

Forgiveness doesn’t just happen; it takes practice like anything else. The cool thing? You can forgive yourself for not being perfect at forgiving yourself yet! 😃

My Forgiveness Focus

Whenever I’m kicking myself for whatever reason, I turn to an exercise I learned from Gabby Bernstein’s book, May Cause Miracles*. In the book, she takes you through a process of releasing what doesn’t serve you so you can open yourself up for miracles (super woo, but you know me by now 😉). Each day, you have a morning and evening exercise to guide you through the process. None stuck with me more than Week 1, Day 5. As a mantra for the day, Gabby has you repeat:

“I forgive myself for choosing Fear.
Today I choose Love instead.”

A version of that has become one of my guiding mantras anytime I become aware that I’m beating myself up or holding myself to an unrealistic standard… which is often. It always helps root me back into the CHOICE I have to hold onto old beliefs, or to embrace the way I want to feel.

The Key to Moving On

The last part of the equation is looking for the lesson. It’s something my therapist taught me a while ago.

When we feel like we’ve done something wrong or didn’t speak up for our needs, it’s hard to move on because we spiral around what we “should” have done. Identifying what we can do differently when we find ourselves in this situation again can help us feel complete so we can move forward.

The past is out of our control, but looking for what we can improve upon in the future can help us release what we wish went differently.

For more fuel for your forgiveness fire, click here to read about my full process for stopping negative self-talk, or click here for how to forgive others (and why you should).

I’m still working through the ick that’s leftover from the experience, but I can tell you it’s gone down a LOT since yesterday thanks to what I’m sharing with you here. I hope this helps you ease the struggle, too.

Wishing you much release and peace,


photo by Paul Earle

*If you buy a product through this link, I may receive a commission. If this makes you uncomfortable, please feel free to buy or borrow it in your own way. This book and the woman who wrote it helped me through a dark time in my life and I hope she can help you, too.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestEmail to someone

4 responses to “How to Stop Spiraling through “Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda””

  1. Jerrod says:

    This rings so true for me. Thank you. Though some heavy struggles, I’ve re-written my definition of insanity from the commonly held “continuing to do the same thing over and over and expecting different results” to “imagining that things should be different than they are right now… in this moment.” The difference between reality and what we imagine it should be in our minds will torture us indefinitely until we can release ourselves from that perfect image in our mind and simply accept what IS. The sooner we can do this, the sooner we can find the lesson. The sooner we can find gratitude for that lesson and the sooner we can apply it at the next opportunity. The faster that we get comfortable with the situation as it is, the closer we get to real time emotional evolution. Thanks again.

  2. Norman says:

    Hi Amy,
    Oh man… this forgiveness stuff. It had trying to figure it out for years. What was it for me? I just couldn´t FEEL it when I told this mantras to my self. In the dark places we all Strongies know, repeating mentally something just didn´t change anything until I received the message of embodyment by Elliott Hulse on one of his workshops I attended. I took a posture of acceptation physically. As I changed my posture, my mantra started to do something. I had to DO it. I had to physically embrace myself.
    To me, to forgive means to accept myself and others… And it came to me that in almost any situation where afterwards I was accusing myself and spiraling downwards I just did my very best. When I made bad choices in my opinion it was because I didn´t see the better ones.
    Whenever I can´t forgive myself or others in the moment I temporalily become soaked in the dark mud I accept this being so. Now. I finally know it will change. I all started with embodying forgiveness!
    Thanks for your great post!
    A big hug,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *