Don’t Judge Your Past
September 30, 2020
There is this interesting phrase we often use- Hindsight is twenty-twenty. It means that we have a better understanding of any event or experience only after it has happened.
Unfortunately, when analyzing the past, we often judge our past actions negatively.
“I should not have invested all my savings in that stock. It is because of that I am facing financial stress today.”
“I should not have quit my earlier job. I am in a worse situation today.”
” How I wish I should have studied more. My current situation would have been.”
“I should have been more accommodating. I destroyed a good relationship.”
“What a boring life I have led. I should have traveled more.”
Because we have a better understanding of the situation now, we start seeing ourselves negatively for the actions we took in the past. We begin doing a post mortem of what happened and wallow in feeling bad about our past mistakes. We start creating negative beliefs and fears.
But, here’s the thing. We are merely judging our past actions based on our present maturity.
A child does not know what fire is, so it puts a finger in the fire the first time. The child learns a lesson that fire burns and does not repeat the mistake in the future. And the matter ends there. The child does not carry the scar of the fire beyond the moment when she burnt her finger. With the experience, its maturity grows, and it will avoid putting a finger in the fire again.
Unfortunately, as adults, we don’t let our mistakes go. We keep revisiting our past mistakes from our current perch of higher maturity and keep feeling bad. This thinking is wrong.
- When you invested all your savings in that one stock, that was your maturity and intelligence at that time. There was nothing wrong with the decision you took at that time.
- When you did not study, your maturity at that time told you it was ok not to study more diligently. The decision you took was the best you took at that time based on the intelligence you had. Period.
- When you were not accommodative in your relationship, that was entirely based on your mental maturity at that time. You can’t punish yourself for that with today’s maturity.
Our past experiences only serve one purpose. They are a part of our present maturity and intelligence. Instead of wasting emotional energy feeling bad about what could have been, we should instead focus on what we can do in the present based on our past experiences.
Similarly, based on your current maturity on different matters, you may take some actions today. Some decisions may turn out well, some not so well. In the future, don’t look back at the decisions you take today and say, ” I should have done it differently.”
Don’t judge your past based on your present maturity. It’s futile and adds no value.