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Hindsight is 20/20: 5 Lessons From Your Life

Hindsight is 20/20: 5 Lessons From Your Life

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.

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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.

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Plain and simple. The deal is done.

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Take the following 5 steps into consideration next time you are faced with disapproval against your past:

  1. Take each interaction as a lesson; and a valuable one at that.
  2. Don’t regret situations, use them to build the future.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. And finally, always look back, but never in anger.

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    Jillian Skoczylas

    Clinical Liaison for Intensive Care Management at Beacon Health Options

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    Last Updated on December 10, 2019

    5 Smart Reasons to Start Journal Writing Today

    5 Smart Reasons to Start Journal Writing Today

    Here’s the truth: your effectiveness at life is not what it could be. You’re missing out.

    Each day passes by and you have nothing to prove that it even happened. Did you achieve something? Go on a date? Have an emotional breakthrough? Who knows?

    But what you do know is that you don’t want to make the same mistakes that you’ve made in the past.

    Our lives are full of hidden gems of knowledge and insight, and the most recent events in our lives contain the most useful gems of all. Do you know why? It’s simple, those hidden lessons are the most up to date, meaning they have the largest impact on what we’re doing right now.

    But the question is, how do you get those lessons? There’s a simple way to do it, and it doesn’t involve time machines:

    Journal writing.

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    Improved mental clarity, the ability to see our lives in the big picture, as well as serving as a piece of evidence cataloguing every success we’ve ever had; we are provided all of the above and more by doing some journal writing.

    Journal writing is a useful and flexible tool to help shed light on achieving your goals.

    Here’s 5 smart reasons why you should do journal writing:

    1. Journals Help You Have a Better Connection with Your Values, Emotions, and Goals

    By journaling about what you believe in, why you believe it, how you feel, and what your goals are, you understand your relationships with these things better. This is because you must sort through the mental clutter and provide details on why you do what you do and feel what you feel.

    Consider this:

    Perhaps you’ve spent the last year or so working at a job you don’t like. It would be easy to just suck it up and keep working with your head down, going on as if it’s supposed to be normal to not like your job. Nobody else is complaining, so why should you, right?

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    But a little journal writing will set things straight for you. You don’t like your job. You feel like it’s robbing you of happiness and satisfaction, and you don’t see yourself better there in the future.

    The other workers? Maybe they don’t know, maybe they don’t care. But you do, you know and care enough to do something about it. And you’re capable of fixing this problem because your journal writing allows you to finally be honest with yourself about it.

    2. Journals Improve Mental Clarity and Help Improve Your Focus

    If there’s one thing journal writing is good for, it’s clearing the mental clutter.

    How does it work? Simply, whenever you have a problem and write about it in a journal, you transfer the problem from your head to the paper. This empties the mind, allowing allocation of precious resources to problem-solving rather than problem-storing.

    Let’s say you’ve been juggling several tasks at work. You’ve got data entry, testing, e-mails, problems with the boss, and so on—enough to overwhelm you—but as you start journal writing, things become clearer and easier to understand: Data entry can actually wait till Thursday; Bill kindly offered earlier to do my testing; For e-mails, I can check them now; the boss is just upset because Becky called in sick, etc.

    You become better able to focus and reason your tasks out, and this is an indispensable and useful skill to have.

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    3. Journals Improve Insight and Understanding

    As a positive consequence of improving your mental clarity, you become more open to insights you may have missed before. As you write your notes out, you’re essentially having a dialogue with yourself. This draws out insights that you would have missed otherwise; it’s almost as if two people are working together to better understand each other. This kind of insight is only available to the person who has taken the time to connect with and understand themselves in the form of writing.

    Once you’ve gotten a few entries written down, new insights can be gleaned from reading over them. What themes do you see in your life? Do you keep switching goals halfway through? Are you constantly dating the same type of people who aren’t good for you? Have you slowly but surely pushed people out of your life for fear of being hurt?

    All of these questions can be answered by simply self-reflecting, but you can only discover the answers if you’ve captured them in writing. These questions are going to be tough to answer without a journal of your actions and experiences.

    4. Journals Track Your Overall Development

    Life happens, and it can happen fast. Sometimes we don’t take the time to stop and look around at what’s happening to us at each moment. We don’t get to see the step-by-step progress that we’re making in our own lives. So what happens? One day it’s the future, and you have no idea how you’ve gotten there.

    Journal writing allows you to see how you’ve changed over time, so you can see where you did things right, and you can see where you took a misstep and fell.

    The great thing about journals is that you’ll know what that misstep was, and you can make sure it doesn’t happen again—all because you made sure to log it, allowing yourself to learn from your mistakes.

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    5. Journals Facilitate Personal Growth

    The best thing about journal writing is that no matter what you end up writing about, it’s hard to not grow from it. You can’t just look at a past entry in which you acted shamefully and say “that was dumb, anyway!” No, we say “I will never make a dumb choice like that again!”

    It’s impossible not to grow when it comes to journal writing. That’s what makes journal writing such a powerful tool, whether it’s about achieving goals, becoming a better person, or just general personal-development. No matter what you use it for, you’ll eventually see yourself growing as a person.

    Kickstart Journaling

    How can journaling best be of use to you? To vent your emotions? To help achieve your goals? To help clear your mind? What do you think makes journaling such a useful life skill?

    Know the answer? Then it’s about time you reap the benefits of journal writing and start putting pen to paper.

    Here’s what you can do to start journaling:

    Featured photo credit: Jealous Weekends via unsplash.com

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