Every so often I generate thoughts about how my life would be had I made a different choice in the past. Usually, such thoughts occur when something is difficult or going wrong. It’s natural to wonder about what might have been when we’re not enjoying what is. Say I’m having a hard time with the seeming endless renovations required by my 90-year-old house. I think about how much easier it would be had we bought a newer, lower- maintenance townhouse. I think, I wish I’d made a different decision. Such thoughts can be dispiriting, since I can’t go back now and make a different decision, and because they cast an even harsher light on all that currently is. Regret about past decisions prevents us from recognizing the value of what is. Of course, the home has great historical value, and I’ve actually enjoyed parts of the process nurturing it back to its former glory, as well as filling out its potential with a hillside deck.
But more importantly, we might recognize that there is no perfect decision. All homes require upkeep. All jobs come with challenges. All relationships face complexities. And so on. Given that there is no perfect decision, shouldn’t we think well of the imperfect ones we’ve made, and focus on the benefits? A client has been struggling with guilt about the fact that she decided to be a working mom while her daughter was growing up. This is a tough subject for many women. She now realizes, though, that her more complex life led her daughter to become the admirably independent and responsible young woman that she is.
We might ask ourselves, What are the good results of the decision I’ve made? And then we might set about maximizing the potential of the current situation.
You're reading the Bad Thoughts Blog, which maintains that feeling good is as simple as thinking a better thought. I'm Debbie Covino, hypnotherapist, coach, and creator of the Master Your Own Mind self-hypnosis program, available at www.hypnotic-wellbeing.com/store
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