I am sure you have heard that phrase before. The meaning is that when you look back on things (in hindsight), you can see events clearly and understand them, but at that moment, you don’t have the same clarity. So, would you change your life if you had the opportunity to know what you know now, in the future?
I have learned a lot recently from my daughter about how my ex-husband processed and thought about things. She is working to figure herself out and find connections between her processing and her father’s. She told me that if I had understood more, it might have made a difference in how I viewed him and what might have happened in our relationship.
By no means do I regret where I am today nor the man I am married to now, but it’s interesting to look back on life and see how our way of thinking, life experiences, and time have a way of changing our perceptions and therefore, our reactions.
One of the greatest gifts of aging is that I am understanding more and more about myself. Not everyone gets the opportunity to age and reflect. I know that the gift is precious.
I wrote a blog recently that sent some of my family members on a spiral. It was not my intent to do so, but it has triggered them negatively. Since I have spent much of my life in reflection and education to better understand my past, I can talk more freely about the atrocities that I have lived through. For some of my family however, perhaps it was unfair to unveil those atrocities in such a way as to push the events back to their present selves. My hope, however, is to take the power of the past away by speaking it into the future and the light.
My past childhood traumas have made me who I am today and, hopefully, a better therapist, parent, friend, and spouse.
I can see times when my past would hijack me and take me down a road I did not want to go. I felt unworthy on many levels and therefore sabotaged good relationships and sought out poor ones. I allowed myself to be abused at times, feeling that it was what I deserved. I hid my true self and created a persona of someone else that I felt was more worthwhile and worthy. All coping tools, yet not ones that benefited me.
I am not saying that today I stand perfect and making all great decisions, but I am saying that over time I can look back and give myself grace and forgiveness for my mistakes because now, I know where those choices came from. Having grace and forgiveness of self is a huge step toward self-actualization.
It was not easy to allow that forgiveness. Mostly, I learned it from watching my children struggle to forgive themselves for errors they made, and as I gently reminded them that they were human and to err is to be human, I slowly developed grace for myself.
Reflecting on where I came from and doing the trauma work has also given me great insight. I understand why I did what I did. Excuses don’t come from that, but rather understanding and compassion.
Today, I work with kids that ask themselves if they were at fault for the trauma that has happened to them. I remember feeling the same and knowing that it took time and work to get to the place where I understood I was not at fault. Compassion comes from that place.
I don’t know if I would want to know what I know now back then. I don’t know if I would want my future self to go back and correct my errors. While they were painful, they have also brought me to this place right here, right now, in the life that I love so much.
So, hindsight might be 20/20, but I am okay with that. I better understand the paths I took and the crooks and crannies of my path, but I would not change it either. I am happy with who I am and where I am in life.
My life goal at this point is to give that gift to others. Through therapy, you, too, can better understand how your past affects your future and the reason behind your choices, and a path to make better choices for yourself through reflection, self-compassion, and forgiveness.
Please call us to make your appointment today.