At a previous job, when I was a lot younger than I am now and a lot less self-assured, a coworker told me, while doing a survey of my outfit and letting his eyes fall to my chest, that, without averting his eyes, I looked nice that day. If that had happened now, I’d have told him that my eyes were a bit higher up but thank you for the compliment.
My senior year in college, a professor loudly scoffed when mentioned that I wanted to work in media relations for an NHL team. Today, I’d have said that so many amazing women have paved the way for me, and if I wanted to, I could get there.
We all dwell on the past. We review our lives like a movie in which we were the main character and we judge that main character so harshly. We look back and say, “why wasn’t I nicer to him? Why did I think that was a good idea? If I had just done something different, everything now would be better.” But what’s the point? Why do we beat ourselves up over events that we cannot change?
I have come to believe that growing up is about letting go of “I should have” and “why did I” and “if I could only go back.” You can’t. There will never be a time in your life when you can hit the rewind button and change your actions.
So learn from it. Never do it again. Maybe you treated someone badly. Maybe you forgot a big project was due. Maybe you let a relationship fall by the wayside. Stop dwelling on what was, what could’ve been, and just learn from it. Let those “should haves” fuel you.
I am a firm believer in everything happening for a reason. Whether it’s God’s plan or just a series of events that lead to each other, I can’t help but feel that everything that has ever happened and ever will happen is whatever we need right now.
Over my 28 years on this earth, I’ve made a lot mistakes. I’ve treated people poorly when they didn’t deserve it, I wasn’t thankful or gracious to those who helped me along the way, I didn’t treat myself and others kindly. But if you sit and stew in the past, if you let the past hold you back and constantly remind you of the “should haves,” if you look at the past as a reminder of everything you’ve done wrong, there is no point to any of it.
It isn’t easy, but life isn’t supposed to be easy. Take a deep breath, remind yourself that what’s done is done, and move on, taking with you the knowledge that you’re better off with your mistakes in tow.