1. recognition of the realities, possibilities, or requirements of a situation, event, decision etc., after its occurrence.
How many times in life have you said to yourself, “I wish I had thought of that”, or regretted an action because in hindsight you feel that you could have done things differently? It happens to me from time to time, and probably more now since I became a mother. While I blame it on my pregnancy brain that apparently continues for years post pregnancy, I am curious as to why things often seem clearer after it has occurred and passed.
Sometimes when something occurs unfavourably I scrutinise the situation only to have hindsight tell me that I could have acted differently. But, while there could have been other options, given the same situation I probably would do the same again. When something occurs it’s a combination of numerous things. It’s circumstantial, emotional and depends on the physical and environmental state at that time. I may criticise myself with the information I currently have in hand, in my current state of mind and current environment. But hindsight is 20/20, we look back at an outcome with a perfect eyesight. By the we have a better understanding of things and more information than we had when it occurred. The tragedy is that once we know all the information that would derive the most favourable outcome, the event is already in the past.
So how can this hindsight with her “Woulda. Coulda. Shoulda.“ be less of a nag and more of a friend to us? Bill Butler explains the hidden powers of hindsight, where reflection can be used to inform our foresight. Foresight is the ability to perceive future outcomes and plan actions based on this information. This is possible if we are able to understand what we could have done differently when something goes unfavourably, without criticism or judgement. By allowing ourselves to question what options that were at our disposal at that point, and take a minute to forgive ourselves and see the benefit of this opportunity for future endeavours.
While this can help in a thing or two, no two experiences are same. We will still be faced with completely new circumstances and state of mind. The best we could do is take a minute to speculate the outcome and just hope for the best. Find our comfortable space between yesterday and tomorrow, and live in the moment. Like Judy Belmont said, “Forgive yourself for not having the foresight to know what now seems so obvious in hindsight”.