Looking Back

 We’ve all been there. 

I suspect that by the time people hit adulthood, pretty much everyone has experienced something that, in retrospect, they should have left far earlier than they did.
A friendship or relationship that wasn’t healthy.
A church where there were serious problems.
A school with verbally abusive teachers.
A doctor who didn’t listen.
A dance studio that no longer fits our needs.
A situation that got out of hand.

The list goes on and on, and the longer we live, the more of those experiences we’re likely to have.

I’m not an Enneagram 6 (a loyalist). I am fiercely loyal, but I also am willing to make a change when I see that my previous decision is no longer a good fit.
But whenever that happens, in the months and years that follow I look back and wonder how I didn’t see the signs.
Part of it is the “frog in the pot” syndrome. The gradual change that we don’t notice because it wasn’t like that when we started there. A lot of my own experiences fall into that category.
But part of it is just not seeing the true state of things when we start somewhere.


Example: I left a doctor’s office because I was so fed up with how bad the communication was. How hard it was to get ahold of a nurse or the doctor. How tough it was to get through to the receptionist to make an appointment.
But seriously, I hadn’t been able to get a person on the phone the first time I had tried to go to that practice. It was only when someone else got through that I was able to get an appointment made.


It’s really easy to look back at those situations and get angry at ourselves for not recognizing the signs. But how is that healthy? 
We don’t know what we don’t know.
You know the phrase “hindsight is 20/20.” There’s a reason for the popularity of the saying. We don’t always see the big picture in the midst of the experience. In fact, it’s almost impossible TO see the forest for the trees, when we’re standing in the middle of that forest! 
I’ve been realizing lately just how important it is to forgive my former self, and this is one huge part of that. I can’t keep lecturing old me on how stupid it was that I didn’t change _______ earlier. Because that me was doing the best she could with the information she had at that moment. 
And in all reality, we could never learn and become wiser if we hadn’t gone through those situations.
Example: In an earlier post, I wrote about the importance of being at a church you felt right about connecting to, and how my parents had been through a nasty church split. If they hadn’t been through that and taught me some of the red flags they figured out after the fact, I might have hung on in a couple situations myself, and ended up witnessing the trauma of a church split (or implosion). 
So give yourself grace. You did the best you could with the knowledge you had back then. Of course, current-you would have done it differently, but in reality, a lot of the reason you WOULD do it differently is BECAUSE you went through that uncomfortable situation. 

I’d love to hear your thoughts! charla@charmboxstudios.com or comment on Facebook And feel free to subscribe by going here and signing up! I blog about once a month (or as inspiration strikes), and I will never EVER do anything with your email address.