Hindsight vs. Kindness by Janet Shlaes, Ph.D.
“View your life with kindsight. Stop beating yourself up about things from your past. Instead of slapping your forehead and asking, ‘What was I thinking,” breathe and ask yourself the kinder question, “What was I learning?’” ~ Karen Salmansohn
Ruminating about past actions appears to be a popular activity, one that frequently leads to increased anxiety, negative self-judgement and diminished self-esteem. Imagine how different your experience of yourself and your potential would be if instead of beating yourself up, you developed the habit of evaluating the past from an attitude of appreciation, kindness, curiosity and wisdom. You could view your past through the filter of kindness, affection and appreciation for the person that you were with the coping resources you possessed at that moment in time. You would understand that if you could have done better at the time, you would have. This approach does NOT let you off the hook for past actions; it serves to allow you to accept your limitations at the time and take action to make amends for your less than desirable actions. You can be curious regarding what you were thinking at the time and generate alternative behaviors should you be faced with a similar situation in the future. You can also visualize yourself responding differently with the wisdom gleaned from your experience, mistakes and intentional reparations. Taking on this mindset would directly facilitate what Karen Salmansohn refers to as “kindsight.” This kinder approach is both freeing and growth enhancing and has a positive ripple impact in your life and out into the world.
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