I am an evaluator. A reflective thinker. I look back on conversations and events and think through what was right and what should have been better. As I have written before, I can learn more looking back. Each year I spend a week in December looking back over the year. Even at the end of the day, I find myself looking back over how the day played out.
Last week I had a couple of days, two in a row to be exact, where I was very disappointed in how I had handled a couple of situations; disappointed with some words I had used and my thoughts when it was over. I think all of us find times when we look back and we wish we had done things differently. Recognition is not enough though. If we want to make improvements, we need a process to go through that will help us. Here are a few things I do when I have those days.
Way too many times the things that I am disappointed about need repentance. The last thing I want is to not acknowledge my need to repent. Sometimes this is all that is needed. There is nothing else that can be done, but I acknowledge and make sure my spiritual relationship remains healthy.
Many of the disappointments we have involve other people. It could be an action we take or something we have said. If we have wronged or offended someone, the relationship will be better if we learn to apologize. Letting the other person know we are self-aware builds stronger, more trusting relationships.
If something happened that I do not want to happen again, I find safeguards to help avoid it. I find my wife is one of the best safeguards I could have. She will off something I should not say or keep me from doing something I should not do. There are many other safeguards that you may need depending on the situation. The simplest way to avoid trouble is to stay away from it.
Don’t sulk. We all have bad moments, bad days, and sometimes bad seasons. Don’t wallow in it. Get up and move on. Nothing will improve dwelling on the past. Learn from the past, but don’t live in it. Living historically can cause you to become hysterical.
The question is not whether you will ever be disappointed in yourself. The question is “How are you going to respond?” when you do. Try a few of these things. Come up with a plan of your own. Either way, learn from it and move on.