No-Fail Friday: In retrospect

Woman looking back_Frederic Frognier_Stocksnap

If you’ve been reading along, you know this week’s post about how to end something well was a natural progression from the prior week’s post about seeing your commitments through, and not mentally checking out of something before it’s really over. They were both about staying present when you know change is coming, so you don’t miss the never-to-be-seen-again moments of your life that transitions include. It’s nice to be able to check in when you realize you aren’t, which is a skill mindfulness helps to build. Sometimes, though, hindsight is 20-20, and we don’t realize what we’ve missed until it’s gone. That doesn’t mean there isn’t anything that can be done about it, though, which provides the perfect space for this weekend’s mindfulness challenge

If the last two weeks have made you think, “Yup, that’s me…” then you may already have instituted your own mindfulness challenge with your efforts to re-engage with your #currentsituation. Alternatively, you may be feeling a little twinge of regret over how things went with something you’ve already closed the book on. If that’s the case, then I’ve got a suggestion. Two, actually. Ready?

First, find your breath. Quiet your mind. By now, you know the drill. If not, check out one of the guided meditations at the bottom right of this page. Give it a few minutes. If your mind keeps wandering, just gently bring it back to your breath. No big deal. It’s just breathing. Once you’ve had your fill, bring to mind the situation where you left before left, so to speak. Who was instrumental to your success there? Who would have benefitted from, or simply enjoyed, having you more present? Just because you’re not there anymore doesn’t mean you can’t say thanks. Before you wrap up your meditation, end it well by sending them gratitude. With a clear mind and a a full heart, you can internally offer them what you missed the chance to do in the moment. If you did say thanks but weren’t really present for it, they may not have felt it. Even though you can’t wind back the clock, you can at least offer them, and the opportunity they helped enable for you, your fully-present gratitude in this moment.

If you’re up for it and if it’s possible, you might then want to take it external. It’s never too late to actually say thank you to someone. You might feel awkward because you feel your lateness highlights your prior oversight, or behavior you wanted to think wasn’t a big deal at the time. Trust me, it’s only awkward for you. If you have the chance to loop back around and simply let them know that, whether your attention indicated it at the time, you’re grateful for the experience and their support, then do it. If that’s not possible, then send them your appreciation internally but intentionally.

Life is full of moments we wish we could do over again. Carrying around even mild regret is a burden that can prevent us from being fully present in the current moment. Because mindfulness teaches us how to manage discomfort, it gives us the chance to revisit the situation and do our best to close it out well. Sincere gratitude is always valuable, even if it’s retrospective. In the future, mindfulness can help you check in to make sure it’s part of your here and now.

“Never regret anything that is done with a sincere affection; nothing is lost that is born of the heart.” – Basil Rathbone

Photo credit: Frederic Frognier

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