“If only I knew then what I know now.”
How often has that thought crossed your mind?
Ever wish you could go back in time for a do over to:
- Take back words you wish you’d never said,
- Begin or end a relationship sooner,
- Select a more fulfilling career path,
- Say yes where you said no,
- Say no where you said yes,
- Express your feelings when you clammed up, or
- Take action when you stood still?
The Beauty of Hindsight
Hindsight is a beautiful gift because it helps us process past experiences from a clearer standpoint and a wiser perspective.
When we’re going through something, we don’t have the advantage of hindsight. Momentous occasions in our lives don’t always hold the same gravity when we’re experiencing them. It’s only later, often years later, we perceive them as they truly occurred. We’re then able to see the impact of those moments as a result.
The Temptation to Dwell in the Past
With this recognition comes the temptation to dwell on what could have been. And this is where a lot of us get stuck. It’s far too easy to cling to the notion that we missed out somehow and life will always be less than it could have been.
This false belief is like spinning tires in a rut. The wheels go in circles but offer no motivational traction to climb out of the hole.
Focusing on the past doesn’t serve us or anyone else well.
We certainly can’t change the past. There’s no sense spending our precious time groveling in useless regret. What we can do is apply what we’ve learned since then to present and future situations.
For the most part, we act according to the knowledge, experience, and beliefs we hold at any given moment.
As Maya Angelou said simply, yet so eloquently, “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.”
This is the way forward. Let hindsight be a teacher, not a stumbling block.