It was an evening unlike any other; sitting at my laptop with a glass of wine and I found myself rereading old thesis papers from college. I started to skim one that involved the personality breakdown through the bio-psychosocial theory, with my analytical subject being my then husband. I was stunned at the findings I had comprised. I had completely picked apart his personality and revealed all the ticks that hindered our marriage. How I delightfully gazed over these words 2 years ago, baffles me. Within the paper, I had defended my bias to the relationship. I tried to convince the reader that it was not intended to be a personal reflection, but strictly clinical. After all this time, however, I realized I was unconsciously venting my frustrations; airing them within this paper and convincing myself that these features were in no way detrimental. Now months after our divorce, here I was staring at the red flags in the face. Our entire relationship was scripted in forms of behavioral impulses and environmental factors that I avoided for so long until I couldn’t any longer. Why did this not resonate within me in the moment? I feverishly texted one of my closest friends who bluntly stated to me, “Ya know, hindsight is 20/20 they say.”
This is when it all makes sense.
You hear idioms such as these constantly, but once it makes a mark with you on a personal level, that is when it all makes sense. The definition flooded me yet instead of becoming angered with my previous lack of insight, I had to step outside and assess what I had gathered from those moments. I needed to understand that my capacity for knowledge was so different than now. At that point in my life, I was stuck in a cycle of compressed unhappiness veiled with security. I guarded my feelings for the sake of others and for the purpose of upholding an image. As I sat at my desk that night, I understood that I needed to live that experience. I had to fight through the troubles to fully grasp who I was and what I needed from my relationships with others and myself. Society might not appreciate the idea of hindsight, yet deeply embedded within it is a lesson, which should transform into a ritual.
Accept what has happened and learn from it.
Of course, we are all familiar with this idea, yet how many of us actually put this into practice? It’s not easy but it can come with time and a few helpful ideas. Ultimately, you cannot stress over your past decisions, but be humbled by them and reflect because there is absolutely nothing you can do about them now. At the same time, those who are on the outside of your choices cannot criticize. You did what you could at the time, with the knowledge and faith in the situation that you had to work with.
Plain and simple. The deal is done.
Take the following 5 steps into consideration next time you are faced with disapproval against your past:
- Take each interaction as a lesson; and a valuable one at that.
- Don’t regret situations, use them to build the future.
- Do not agonize over the “IF”. The situation has passed and there has been a resolution. Regardless of the ending, we lived it, we must accept it and move on. If it was a negative outcome, take it as you have grown from that – simply placed another stone on your strong foundation.
- Negatively harboring on your hindsight is too exhausting and mentally wearing. It will bruise your chances for a positive outlook on life to the point of depression. Hindsight is your reflection of the situation, embrace it and focus your perspective for the next time.
- And finally, always look back, but never in anger.