There are two ways to ask yourself “What did I learn?” One way is ask, “Did I make a “technical” error and how can I prevent that same mistake in the future?” Much practical change & positive growth can come out of this approach.
You will get more satisfaction out of the change & growth if you also ask the second way: Is there was anything from that past experience that I didn’t get that I still want now? And how can I bring it into my life now? The second way also heals old hurts, (including trauma) at a deep level. This way also helps your set a new goal based on an authentic desire. You will be more likely to maniifest your new goal if it involves a state of being like love, joy, power, serenity, clarity, peace, freedom, wholeness, value, intelligence, courage, presence, openness, aliveness, etc.)
Sometimes we miss a window of opportunity for a specific kind of result. For example, there are time and training limited windows of opportunity to become a concert pianist, Olympic athlete, or celebrate 50 years of marriage, or even staying married to a specific person. If you figure out what you wanted to experience as a result of achieving that goal, you will be able to set a new goal that is obtainable now.
Part of desire to achieve the goal may be the pleasure derived from participation in the event. Using the example of being a concert pianist, it maybe the pleasure of music itself or the experience of expressing yourself musically. You may not have enjoyed the performer aspects at all. If you do enjoy performing, then there may be alternative venues where you can play. Most importantly, where does playing music “take you?” For example, you may experience deep joy, power, vitality, wholeness, peace, or some other quality that feels transcendent.
If you use the experience of regret over choices made that will make it improbable that you will ever celebrate a 50th anniversary, ask yourself, “What did I want out of that experience?” You may find that you wanted security, and been dismayed that the relationships increased insecurity emotionally, physically, or economically. Instead of looking outside of yourself for security, you may need to find ways of being more secure in yourself. You may also need to come to terms with the reality that nothing is permanently secure in life. Developing inner strength to cope with the reality of impermanence in life and a faith in the ways you are able to protect and provide for yourself may become the new goals.
Another possibility is that you desired the experienced of devoted love. While this may trigger some grief about love(s) lost, it also creates a stirring awakening of the opportunities that are still available to you. As you pursue the goal of developing a committed relationship with another person, you may find that the first task in achieving the form of the goal is to actively devote yourself to being more loving to yourself, to learning to tolerate vulnerability, or to being more committed to the gifts that you have to offer.
Viewing Your Life through “Kindsight” allows you to put the past to rest through self-compassion and asking deeper questions about what you truly desire. It avoids the ego traps inherent in focusing on any specific form of a goal by focusing on states of being. And it all starts with self-compassion.
©2012 Noreen Wedman