How many times have you looked and your past and said I should have, would have or could have? Do you look back and judge yourself on your decisions? I’ve been guilty of it myself. I have looked back and hack up the decision not to buy a condo 20 years ago; the relationships that went south; not having mentors earlier in my life; choosing a lifestyle that did not suit me; not traveling earlier in life; and so many other decisions that I made. It’s an easy thing to do.
The thing is that we made the best decision that we could based on the information, relationships, level of knowledge, financial means and any other number of factors that we had. We made the best decision that we could based on what we knew then. And yet there is a tendency to judge ourselves; to punish ourselves; to second guess and to then get stuck in fear of another “bad” decision.
The truth is that we always do the best we can with what we have. We did the best we could and we will continue to do the best we can as we move through life. To be so hard on ourselves for doing just that is unnecessary and also harmful and yet a lot of us do it to one extent or another.
If it’s so harmful then why do we do it? The answer is simple and yet complex and I will do my best to explain. We judge our past selves based on new information and experiences that we have had since that event or decision. Do you get that? It is difficult to look back and separate what we know now and what we knew then and so we can pass judgement and ask why. Time is elastic that way and sometimes it’s hard to pull apart the actual time line of events.
When this type of situation arrises, where you are judging your past self I encourage you to have compassion. I encourage you to forgive yourself for what you did not know and the decisions you made and look at the lessons that you may have learned. Look for the things that made you who you are today. Explore what value the choice brought to your life and how it shaped you. Allow yourself to heal.
This judgement of past self can effect us in many ways. It can freeze us out from making choices that feel right based on the old story of being “wrong”. It can hold us back from exploring life and the beauty of being in the thick of it and learning. I am and you are the sum of all of the decisions that brought us to where we are and who we are today. Celebrate those decisions and the journey.
You may make a decision today that does not work out as intended and I trust that you will be able to look back and say “And yet, I made the best decision that I could at the time and look at me now.” You’ll make decisions 20 years from now and they will be the best decision you could make based on what you knew then, however it works out. We really do the best we can in any moment so I ask you to sit with that. Sit with your self and talk to that part of you that is judging and offer compassion. It can truly change your life right now.