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Showing posts with label hindsight. Show all posts
Showing posts with label hindsight. Show all posts

Saturday, June 1, 2019

The reflection across the pond: Hello from the Other Side

You know sometimes, you are just minding your own business going along with your life and you hear something which you may or may not have heard before and it hits you like a ton of bricks.   I've heard the song Hello by Adele before.  I knew it was powerful the first time I heard it. I knew she was saying something profound and there was regret imbued in it.   But, I heard it again on a calm and extended drive home from work.  There was no trying to rush into work, no trying to beat traffic, nothing hanging over my head from work or the like.  In other words, I had a pretty clear mind at that point.

So, I hear her song and it seems to be about a relationship and regret.   I've read where she indicate that was it was about being on the other side of childhood including regret about missing things from earlier in her life.   But, as I was listening to it, I realized that it really can apply to numerous circumstances or situations.  Dennis DeYoung had a falling out with Styx and he no longer is part of the group, yet I've heard him express time and time again wanting to be part of the mix with them.  He's had a good life overall so far and has had a good marriage, but there seems to be something missing.  For fans of Styx, it really is a tragedy as the band is so much more complete with him.   I can imagine current day Dennis DeYoung talking to his younger self, telling himself to back off and later his bandmates from the future expressing what he'd learned from over time.  I kind of reflected on the situation in Heartache: Wanting the one thing you can't have.

From my life, the lives of others around me and having a front row to society here is a list of those who you can say "Hello from the Other Side" to (not in any particular order)

Hello to
- Your childhood and yourself
- Your friends
- Your family of origin
- Your exes, significant other
- Your children
- Your Higher Power
- Your strangers
- Your teammates
- Your neighbors/community/society

  • Your Higher Power
    • You didn't trust your Higher Power when the opportunities was presented and obvious.
    • You didn't listen to your Higher Power when you were being 'spoken' too.
    • You didn't value your Higher Power's role in your life. 
    • You blamed your Higher Power instead of understanding that your Higher Power is not there to save you from every possible bad outcome or circumstance.
    • You treated your Higher Power as if your Higher Power's purpose was to serve you rather than to guide as deemed best.
    • You may have cared about your Higher Power, but didn't necessarily love or showed that you did.
  • Your neighbors/community/society
    • You treated them as if they were there just to serve you rather than you being a contributor.
    • You treated them as if you didn't have to follow the rules or etiquette. That is to say you thought that 'rules are for others'.
    • You didn't accept or appreciate your role in the neighborhood/community/society.
  • Your strangers
    • Kind of like society, but on a more individual level.
    • You were abusive and took advantage of others expecting you wouldn't face consequences or have to interact with them.
    • You didn't extend a hand of kindness or friendship when you could have, but instead looked out for your own needs.
  • Your teammates
    • This could apply to whatever team you are part of (band, sports, etc.)
    • You didn't take your role as part of the team seriously.  You were more interested in how your needs were or weren't being met.
    • You didn't appreciate how your teammates were looking out for you and had your back even when you didn't necessarily 'earn' or 'deserve' it.
    • You weren't there for your team the way or time needed: Especially when they needed you the most.
  • Your childhood and self.
    • You were so critical on yourself. 
    • You judged yourself against a higher standard than you were capable of.  
    • You acknowledged the barriers you faced (at least rhetorically), but your actions showed that you treated them as well you should have been able to hurdle them anyway, no matter how high they were.   You acted like you should have been able to deal with anything and everything as if you had an adult's understanding and maturity.
    • You blamed yourself for things that were beyond your control.   When you were hurt, you blamed yourself for allowing it.  You were imperfect and condemned yourself.
  • Your friends, exes and significant other
    • You took them for granted and didn't value them properly.  You expected them to always be there.  Even sometimes ignoring warning signs.
    • You expected more from them than they were capable of and got upset when they, like you, proved to be human too.
    • You didn't always hold up your end of the relationship and sometimes seemed more concerned about what you could get out of it.
    • You didn't bring them in, when you could have or should have.
  • Your family of origin
    • You weren't always the best brother, sisters, son, daughter, or other 'family' that you could have been.
    • You took others in the family for granted, because honestly, well they would always be family.  In other words, you have to accept me because I'm your family.
    • You were too worried about your own 'needs' and didn't take the time to discover, to embrace, to cherish or to even just be part of your family.
  • Your children
    • You treated them like they were a mistake
    • You treated them is if they were there to be seen only.
    • You treated them as if their needs were not serious as only 'grown up' needs matter.
    • You didn't take the time to get to know them.
    • You treated them as if they were there to reflect well on you and not as if how they felt mattered.
    • You were abusive to them and not understanding.

It can be easy to acknowledge on a surface level failures, mistakes and hurts (to you and from you), but really acknowledging your role can be difficult, especially when you aren't necessarily the only culpable party involved, you've been hurt too and life circumstances have led to distrust of others.  My dad made some mistakes as a person and a parent and found it exceedingly difficult to directly acknowledge them or to open up about himself or give background of any sort.  I know he grew up mostly in foster care, was let down by many, had super strict (possibly to the point of abusive) foster parents, probably was judged vary harshly including by himself and just found it hard to trust others.  I've had my own abuse as spoken about in #MeAsWell: For What It's Worth and in being bullied in my adolescence.  I know having to deal with that helps to make you guarded.  Unfortunately part of being guarded means that you don't always acknowledge your role out of distrust how it could be utilized against you.    

To me her song is about realizing, understanding or accepting how the role you have played in the lives of yourself and others.  It is about being willing to really acknowledge and apologize where appropriate for your role in how things have unfolded.  It is about realizing that ultimately that it shouldn't be about you past acknowledging your role.  It is a clear reflection and expression of remorse, regret and sorrow where appropriate.  Sometimes, frankly regarding the time that we are reflecting back on, we think we are doing the right thing(s) with the right motive(s).  Sometimes, you are acting with the best of intentions too.  Sometimes, in reflection, it is clear that we were wrong and that we couldn't have known.  Sometimes, in reflection, we should have known better.  Sometimes, in reflection, we can honestly say we did no better.

While much of this doesn't necessarily apply to my situation, some of it does.   To that extent, to those who I've ever played a negative role in their life (including myself), I'm sorry and I give a big Hello from the other side, realizing my role, failure or mistake.  I hope someone finds these words as meaningful as I have.


Saturday, October 31, 2015

Decisions/choices we make and the "fog of war".

This will be a short sweet blog this morning.   This reminds me of a blog that I did on Finding peace in the eye of the storm vs. shelter from it.

I was talking to a friend the other day and he explained to me that if he was back in the situation he was years ago he'd have approached things much differently.   As the famous saying goes, hindsight is 20/20.  But what does that really mean?

  • Clearly we just learn more over time.  We are exposed to more circumstances that we have never faced or been through.   We also are exposed to similar circumstances multiple times.  This is to say, we can't help but pick up more knowledge and/or a greater understanding.  For example, we may empathize with a friend who lost a parent, but until we've lost a parent and had to handle that, we just don't know what all goes into dealing with the death of a parent.  Hindsight being 20/20 means if we'd known all that goes into it before it happened, we'd possibly have made better decisions.
  • We 'had the knowledge' at the time we faced the circumstances in question, but there was something blocking us from truly seeing it situation completely and/or executing the choices/decisions we should have.  This is what I refer to as "the fog of war".  Here are a few examples of the 'fog of war':
    • We know what we need to do, but our pride gets in the way.  We simply can't get or see past it.  For example, we might be struggling to find a job in our field, but we also need to pay the bills.  In this situation pride might cause us to not take a lesser job for a while, while looking for the job we 'should be able to get'.  After our pride has cleared, we will realize that we probably brought on more hardship than we needed to.
    • We feel shame or guilt over something in our own life and let it get in the way of decision-making/choices.  In other words, shame and guilt cloud over our thought process.  For example, I think it is common for divorced parents to let the guilt or shame in their role in the unraveling of their marriage get in the way.  Also, guilt or shame over the damage of divorce to the children, can get in the way of their parenting.   If someone feels like they played a large role in the failure of their marriage, it might leave them feeling compromised, for example.  If they feel guilty about what a divorce is doing or has done to their child, then they may be lax in discipline or let things slide that they normally wouldn't.  When you feel bad about yourself, it can be harder to hold another accountable the way you should.  After the feelings have subsided, it will likely be much easier to see past the guilt or shame and just focus on exactly what needs to be done.  We might look back and said I tolerated too much disobedience and I wish I'd be more assertive.
    • Someone close to us is dying or dies.  We are busy mourning their passing or imminent passing.  We can be overwhelmed with thoughts about the situation.  Our normally clear thinking can take second place to the intense hurt or passion of the situation.  As a practical matter we are focused on the (impending) loss and we just don't have enough emotional space to allow our clearer thoughts to take root.  After the situation has calmed down or we've had time to grieve, things can be much clearer.

The long and short of it is this.  When the passions, emotions, guilt/shame or other demons are present, we may know on some level what choices to make, but we may get distracted from making the best choice based on those obstacles to our 'sight' or not having the strength to move past them at the time.  We may unintentionally rationalize our decisions/choices due to our lacking strength or courage.  That is to say, if we are not up to making the best decision, we may just make the decisions that we are able to and find a way to rationalize it as the 'best decision'.  This isn't meant as a criticism, but an unfortunate reflection of the reality at the time.

I guess this all points to the following plan of action:

  1. Doing the best we can do with the information we have at the time.
  2. Considering that unseen and underestimated obstacles might be in the way of our making the best decision or choice.
  3. Praying for wisdom and insight into making the right choice. Praying that we can see past any obstacles.
I believe if we work those three basic steps we can cut down on hindsight or regretful thinking no matter how things turn out.