Moving Out of Self-Flagellation Land

Moving Out of Self-Flagellation Land

Next week I’m sharing a talk on building the practice of positive self image. For those interested and local, admission is free — it’s at 7pm on 3/1/18 at the Fisher Middle School Library in Los Gatos, CA. More info and the link to RSVP are here.

As I continue to prepare my slides, I find myself delighted with a thought I had a few weeks ago. (A fun find, as sometimes past thoughts and remarks are more of the clumsy variety. So it goes with being human and messy! 🙂 ) From a recent post, the thought is as follows:

“It’s easy to Monday morning quarterback a situation after the fact, and hard to say what I would have listened to then, because I didn’t know then what I know now. I learned through traversing the struggles, pain, and messy times.

I’ve spent plenty of time thinking and pondering and mulling and rethinking again what I could have done differently in my own life to have avoided the pit I found myself in in my late teens and twenties (maybe I should have quit gymnastics earlier or gone to a different college or took a quarter off or talked to someone or …).

Now as a parent, my head goes in similar veins over how I’m supporting my children (maybe I should have said this and not that, asked more/less of them, brought this up earlier, implemented a better system, …).

On and on and on and on and on my thoughts can go.

Here’s the thing I’m realizing — these circling thoughts aren’t useful, because I didn’t know in the past moment what I know now. And so to keep rolling around these thoughts (and in doing so, mentally flagellating myself) — it’s not really helping anyone. If anything, it’s wasting my energy.

This isn’t to say that there isn’t value in taking a quick look at how things have gone to see what was useful and what wasn’t. Life is about learning, so yes — we can glean what we can and take the learnings forward. And with that said, we don’t need to live in the pondering and rethinking (aka self-flagellation land). We didn’t know then what we know now. We learned through trying something (which may have worked out well or not so much). We did the best we could in that moment. And hindsight is always 20/20. (So no surprise we may want to try something different now — we now know more than we did previously.) And the same is true for our kids — they are learning through the trying, and if we want to help them stay out of self-flagellation land, let’s not live there ourselves.

So today, let’s put a patch on this rethinking energy leak if something is rolling around in our heads about what we should have done differently, whether for ourselves or our children. We did the best we could then (yes, we did!) — let’s take at what we’ve learned and move it into the now — so we can do the best we can based on what we know now. And that is always enough.

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