Dr Declan Hofbauer
Shoulda Coulda Woulda
To quote a media-guru buddy, “The best time to start an Instagram account was 10 years ago…. But…! The second best time is now”. I love this, and I repeat this all the time. At face value, it seems irrelevant to health and osteopathy, but really it circulates back to the previous point and challenges it. This quote (or attitude if you will) does not dismiss our regretful past action or choice, instead, it acknowledges it and we begin to accept what happened rather than ignore it. Accepting of the fact can be difficult especially if it reverberates into the future with consequences, but it’s important if we are to ever move forward. All of a sudden coulda woulda doesn’t seem so set in stone and the door begins to open, allowing for action that you shoulda done way back when.
So what is it that you want to do? Any why? Generally, if there has been a consequence of not doing or being unable to do something, then justification is generally fairly obvious. But it’s still an important question because it gives it purpose and leaves us with conviction to see it through to the end – If I start to stretch, then my back will be less painful. For me, it’s a topic of health and also personal development within the sphere of health. Ownership of your own health is powerful and difficult to attain at times because it comes with, as mentioned, the need to truly understand and accept the past action and outcome. I am not happy with where I am at the moment. Why… did I stop exercising/stretching/watching what I consume?
I personally have been carrying around an old hamstring injury for the past 6 months, it initially got better, then I damaged it again, and then it got a bit better and so on and so forth. Until it came to a time that I was forced to confront it (and consequently write this blog post!). And with that came a multitude of factors that I had to address in order to fix the problem. That came in the form of modifying exercise, my habits, my thoughts and attitude and even changing my routine. All for a hamstring! It can be exceptionally difficult to deal with recurrent and chronic injury and pain. Mainly, because it starts to affect us on a deeper emotional and psychological level. Which brings to mind the fact that we are human and we are a body, mind and spirit that cannot be separated (ironically a foundation of osteopathy!). But what I was able to get out of it was not just a stronger physical component of my body, but also a complete undressing and redressing of my health (exercise, diet, attitude).
So to return to the premise of this piece, when we begin to break down shoulda coulda woulda it is much deeper than it initially appears. It serves as a temporary distraction from confronting what it is that happened, preventing us from creating a worthy solution down the track. But with the support of a healthcare team (be it a combination of a GP, osteopath, myotherapist, naturopath, counsellor etc) the change is in your hands - be it beginning to stretch, exercise or convincing your boss that “yes, my workplace health IS important”. Just because you coulda doesn’t mean that you now can’t.