When we are looking back in our life as a way of understanding something, we do so through our ‘hindsight glasses.’ These are the spectacles we put on long after the event or relationship is over as a way of trying to process who we were at the time or why we made the choices that we did.
As the old saying goes “Hindsight is 20/20.” Looking back, things are clearer for us and we can look at the situation more objectively. Our hindsight glasses bring clarity because much of the emotion has been processed and we are left with our rational brain. Although this process can often bring closure to clients, it also runs the risk of allowing ourselves undue blame. Although important to take accountability for the choices that we made so as to learn from them, our hindsight glasses can also see things so clearly that we turn on ourselves with questions such as “Why did I stay so long?” or “I should have known better. What is wrong with me?”
I like to remind clients that looking back is an important step in moving forward, but to remember that when we put on our hindsight glasses, we do that with all of the experience we have gained along the way. That is an important element, as our emotional maturity has grown over time and we will look at the situation differently and with a more critical eye.
And so, by all means, put on the hindsight glasses, but do so with compassion for yourself. For as Maya Angelou once said, “When we know better, we do better.”
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