I imagine most people have at some point heard someone say that ‘hindsight is 20/20’ after an event that typically left someone feeling a certain level of guilt, shame, remorse or desire that whatever unfolded would have ended with a different result. The phrase denotes a sense that once we experience the outplay of a life event that may have resulted in something we did not necessarily want to happen (like an accident or mistake), it is easy to look back in time, so to speak, and understand all the factors and decisions that led up to that negative experience occurring, hence the 20/20 perfect vision connotation.
But I have noticed a repetitive pattern, and thus a correlation between the times that I have had these ‘hindsight is 20/20’ moments, where I felt awful about something that happened and that I was responsible for, and my initial negative emotional reactions to someone or a previously unforeseen circumstance that life presented to me. It’s as if these reactions that were based on things like doubt, fear of judgment from others, lack of self-worth or low confidence set off a chain reaction (pun intended) of events that culminated in my having those ‘could have, should have, and would have’ moments as an end result.
The dictionary definition that I found for foresight is:
the ability to predict what will happen or be needed in the future – Lexico.com (1).
Now, I am not saying that everyone needs to be Nostradamus here and predict the future (although I do feel we all have had instances of feeling and knowing what was about to happen, as in a friend calling on the phone right after they popped into your mind), but that we definitely can all feel what is needed in a given situation and begin to let go of the emotionally and eventual physically damaging practice of looking back on life’s events or mistakes in a regretful way that ignores the possibility that what unfolded in that instance was exactly what we needed as a reflection of where we were at in our own personal development, and offered a great lesson that we could utilise and pass on to others for the rest of our lives.
I know for myself that every time I went over in my head something yucky that happened in my life – as if I could somehow change the past outcome with sheer willpower and repeated thoughts – it only resulted in a lot of stress, was exhausting, and did not help or change anything. For to truly value all that life presents for us, as being held by a divine love that is guiding us back to a more soulful way, is quite liberating indeed. It’s in these lived experiences where true wisdom is born.