Oh no! Something's happened. Your relationship has ended. You lost something very important. Your friends aren't talking to you as much. You had a lower score than you expected. Your house was robbed. Your love interest has lost interest. What's going on here?
Life is a wonderful place that we only get to live once, but it sure has a way of throwing us curveballs. Our whole life is a sequence of cause and effect based off of our decision making, and some of our own decisions leave us absolutely baffled when we live through the outcomes. Why did I say that to him/her? Why did I leave my door unlocked? Why didn't I wear a helmet that one time? Why didn't I review that part more indepthly?
This non-stop barrage of little hills and challenges makes up a candid but memorable portion of our life. We always strive to be the best we can be, but we can't do it without continually making mistakes and learning from them. Here's a few things you must remember when you're wondering all your "what if?" and "why?"'s.
1. Stop being so hard on yourself!
We have been blessed with a brilliant mind – it can look far ahead and develop great things, and also look far behind and hinder forward motion. When we feel like we've made a mistake, we kick ourselves in the pants for a long time over it! People struggle for years or decades over the partner they separated from after a bad break up and continue to punish themselves mentally for it. We know it's unhealthy but it seems like a natural part of the process. Ok, you're allowed to think about it for a bit at the beginning. But you HAVE to stop right away! You can't change the past and there's no more what ifs.
2. Out with the self criticism.
People are incredibly critical of themselves when it comes to an offense on their pride. We've all been in a situation like this: John, who never loses anything or so he says, manages to lose $100 somewhere one day. He has enough money, so he's not worried about the financial merit. But it's the offense to his self-prescribed pride that he will bear for the rest of the day. "How could I be so stupid!" plays on repeat through his head all day, and he becomes overly sensitive to the rest of his actions for the day, at the risk of making other silly mistakes as an effect.
We have to get over our inner lion and remind ourselves that we all make mistakes, even if we feel faultless. We have to laugh it off, and not let it take ourselves away. If you become too anal about one thing, other things will start falling apart. Find your balance.
3. You will have another chance!
You said sorry a million times, but nothing is getting through. She won't take you back. You worked for months or years on the relationship but the dead-end is finally here. All that work for nothing.
Well it sounds rather morose, but it's almost a part of life! We have all had some kind of relationship that failed at some point, whether it was our first love or our most recent one. And we have gotten quite good at getting over it – or maybe we haven't. That's the problem. Here, we feel like we lost the fabled "the one" and we will never have another chance. It is an overbearing emotion.
Then what do you know. It's months, years or even days later. Our feelings have relaxed and suddenly someone new is coming into our life. Look at this! Suddenly it's "another chance" when not so long before we felt our whole world coming to a close. Some people don't find their true soulmate until they are 60. Some people don't discover their wealth or purpose until they 60. Trust me, life is long, and there will be plenty more chances.
4. Enjoy the history that you write.
Recent headlines in the Olympics were the two young divers from the Philippines who completely crashed their performances with astounding scores of 0. But what made headlines wasn't their awful demonstration, but their emotions afterwards. Despite being so far from home, at a once in a lifetime event, they carried on the rest of their time with smiles and joy. They didn't care that they certainly weren't getting any medals – they were having a good time and were happy to have just had the opportunity at all.
Enjoy all the opportunities you had, even if it didn't quite go as planned. Maybe the next one will. Maybe the next one won't – who cares. Don't worry about it too much – just enjoy the history you will leave behind anyways.