Aug 24th, 2011 | By Dr Jerry D Elrod | Category: Senior Moments Blog

Seniors Avoid Second Guessing

Second guessing is like wishing… useless, unproductive, aimless and a waste of time and thought. Engaging in “If I had only” or “should have dones” is a pursuit leading only to dead ends.  Deciding to put your energy into what you can do and doing it is a far wiser course.  So why do we get detoured by reflecting and trying to change outcomes that have already taken their shape and produced their consequences?

Likely, one of the reasons is that we just can’t believe our earlier choice is now completely out of our control.  Thinking we are smart enough to have made a different, more palatable choice, seems to haunt us.  But the haunting does not alter the outcome.  Putting aside a decision, once made, as the one we were equipped to make at the time, is a way to move on.  Dwelling on a choice previously made does not in any way affect your own circumstances.  If anything, it just makes them worse.  “Oh, how could I have done that” offers few answers and no resolution.  What you chose to do then is what you must live with now.

Expending energy ruminating upon “might have beens” may seem like a worthy investment for your conscience, while doing little for your developing wisdom and putting that energy to work on better things.

Productive Behavior Changes

Finding a way to invest in today and tomorrow is a far more fruitful use of time than trying to untie the Gordian knot of yesterday.  Once it is untied, if that were ever possible, what do you do with the rope?

Second guessing is not even a worthwhile parlor game.  It is forever and always a losing proposition.  Undoing, reinventing, rearranging the realities of the past just can’t be done.  There may be some minor actions that may prove helpful in how one feels about things done and choices made, but once those are out of the way the need to move on is still there.

Example: I have lived with the need to apologize to a person from my long ago past, regarding a behavior that I felt ashamed of. It stayed with me enough that finally I took action.  When I did I was to discover that the person had died, had lived a reasonably happy life and did not seem bothered by my long ago affront.  Now, there was nothing I could do, but let it go.  And all those years of allowing its presence in my life had made no difference at all.  Letting go is a lesson for life, particularly when that lesson demonstrates that what is over is over.  Forgiving yourself is  far more healthy than carrying around baggage of a long ago “may have been.”

Among the stuff to rid oneself of as we grow older is accumulated memories and actions that no longer matter.  More harm is done by hanging on to them than is likely achieved by wishing you had done something about it.  Let it go.  No more second guessing.

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