How Swimming To Shore Heals Regret
I'm back with a few ideas on how you can befriend your regrets, and how, when and why you use hindsight. The first step... is to not use it, at least for a bit.
Because how you tell the story, becomes the story. If you're neck deep and swimming in disappointment, it's far better to get to the shore before you start asking how you got here.
Your wise and compassionate self may not be accessible, and telling the story through sad, disappointed, exhausted and angry eyes will blind you to the learning and information that could be gained from stepping back. This part of the story is often full of heightened emotions, and that's okay, but you want to tell the story in a way that will help you to move forward without carrying emotional baggage.
"Of all the forms of wisdom, hindsight is by general consent the least merciful, the most unforgiving."~ John Fletcher
GIVE IT A REST
When you do finally get to the shore, you're tired, battered and worn out. You're disappointed; something didn't work out and you're a frustrated, or flat-out, you made the wrong choice. The first step is to take good care, rest and recover. This is when you allow what you feel to come through, express it, but avoid dramatizing.
This is where you surround yourself with people who love and care for you, and this is where you wait. This is also where you continue, if possible, to take small steps every day to handle the necessities of your life. Oh you will hear the voices of rebuke and guilt, but you must strike them from your mind. You cannot change the past - try and try though you might; there's nothing you can do to rewrite history.
Thinking this shouldn't have happened to me or using hindsight bias at regular intervals creates a battle against your present moment.
The should have and if only won't change the reality of what you're experiencing. So, if only you could feel the pain and embrace the discomfort, you could honor what's really happening - you're sad and mad, or embarrassed and hurt, and it feels like it's all too much to bear. This is the pain of regret, that hindsight bias, at this very moment, is trying to help you avoid. Don't hide, run or avoid it. Let it out, because doing so will help to clear the disappointment and the confusion, and eventually you'll be able to hear, see and feel the messages needed to move you forward.
Don't avoid the present moment pain, by hiding in the shadows of what has past.
A THING OF THE PAST
This is a grieving process - make no mistake about it. You've lost something; a dream, an idea and/or your direction, and it takes time to heal. But healing doesn't happen when you continue to beat yourself silly with the whip of regret. It never has, and it never will.
The first step, is to recognize when hindsight isn't a tool of transformation, but a tool of torture.
Wait, breathe, and when the intensity has changed, you can begin to re-claim the essence of what you've lost and begin again. It's from here, on the shore, that hindsight can be leveraged.