Hindsight can be both valuable and damaging.
It's only by acknowledging where we've been and what we've done that we can fully appreciate where we are and what we're doing.
And it's only by having a grip on where we are that we can move forward to where we're meant to be.
But the danger in revisiting the past is the temptation to rewrite it ... to use today's wisdom and experience to reformulate our own personal history.
It's one thing to see where mistakes have been made. It's another thing entirely to measure who we were in the past against who we are in the present, judge our performance and then move on to self-punishment.
So much depression is regret based.
So many feelings of inadequacy and failure are linked with things that simply can't be changed.
The best that we can hope for is that we learn from the life that we have lived to enhance the life we are living and build toward a positive future.
If we feed doubt, disappointment and anguish they can become dominant emotions. We can feel empty and sad.
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There's no denying the past. It happened. No amount of rethinking, rescripting or regret can change history.
The good news is that it is altogether possible to write a fresh, new and positive script for today.
- Gary Bentley is a Rural Aid counsellor.
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