I know we’ve played this game before- each of us, and I have serious doubts if anyone ever won, yet we play it over and over and over . . .
As a former coach, I watched game film and would beat myself up for not calling this time out, or not substituting this player for that player, for keeping this player in too long, for not changing this defense or that offense, for . . . As a teacher, I’d review test or quiz scores and think, if I had taught it this way, or in talking to a student who ended up hurt or disappointed, if I would have said this or not said that . . . As a parent, I shake my head at some of the things I’ve said or have done with my children. As a principal, as a person, as . . . I think you get the picture.
No one wins this game. No one. Not the best of us, not the worst of us, not Joe-Average. No one wins. Hindsight is 20-20. The problem is if we continually look backward and question each and every decision, each and every mistake, that’s all we end up doing in life. We never progress, we never grow, we never become.
I don’t know who said this or I would attribute it correctly, but it goes like this: “Never regret anything that has happened in your life; it cannot be changed, undone or forgotten. So take it as a lesson learned and move on.” What a great message! It frees us from the never-ending cycle of “If I Coulda-Woulda-Shoulda”. Yet, how difficult it is to quit that game. In an earlier post, I wrote that “meditation and self-reflection can be hell on those of us who are perfectionists, even though we realize we are human”. The self-reflective person naturally begins to play this game because we sincerely want to change, to do better and to not make the same mistake over and over again. Self-reflection is a wonderful thing. It is how we get better. Yet, the never-ending game of “If I Coulda-Woulda-Shoulda” is a losing proposition because it doesn’t allow us to grow or to change.
There is an African Proverb that tells us, “When there is no enemy within, the enemies outside cannot hurt you.”
If we play “If I Coulda-Woulda-Shoulda”, we will always develop the enemy within us. For your sake, for the sake of those around you, please stop playing this destructive game. Instead, “. . . take it as a lesson learned and move on.” Something to think about . . .
Live Your Life, and Make A Difference!