After wallowing in the aftermath of a divorce I discovered some very keen skills about transitions.
Eventually, after suffering in the depths of shit for 3-4 years I came to a realisation…. quite a profound realisation…
The Past is the Past.
At first this may sound conspicuous and trite. But it’s not.
The habit of looking back and saying things like “I wish I hadda” is the root of many a regret.
Ironically, regret can’t exist in a world in which we don’t look back.
Looking back means we are not looking forward.
Looking forward therefore is, at its root, only possible when not looking back.
Looking forward is the secret to happiness and joy. Hence, looking back has ramifications way beyond the simple “gee, I wish I hadda”
When we were back we looked forward. So when we look back to regret, we look back to a time when we looked forward (usually to now) and didn’t quite predict the future right.
When I got a divorce I looked back. I regretted the time that I looked forward to the divorce because when I looked forward I didn’t see clearly.
When I was married I just looked forward to being single.
When I was single I looked back and wished I wasn’t.
Trapped between these two critical points I was becalmed. Like a yacht with no wind. I was me but in the “doldrums”
Occasional glimpses of the future came to me in meeting good women or finding a new consulting client or passing an exam. But I didn’t trust them. My ability to trust the future was smashed.
I had predicted the future once before and that prediction turned out to be now, and now I was filled with regret. Like a ball bouncing between two walls. Frozen in time. Lost.
This is what induced a habit of regret
Not only for the poor prediction of the future as a single man but more dangerously, for tomorrow.
You see, the pain of regret outweighs the pain of discipline. But discipline only comes when we believe the future is a bed of roses.
When I felt that I wanted to build another business or get married again, the regret of the past, and the poor prediction of the future (this moment now) stopped me in my tracks.
I’d say “hey, I’d love to fall in love” but then I’d think “yeah, but look at what that got me” and somewhere in my heart, I’d die again. and again, and again.
I became one of the “living dead”
Trapped in a war between the reality of the overwhelming evidence of my past poor decision making (leaving my wife) and therefore an inability to reengage in an investment in the future. Simply put, joy went out and doubt came in.
Now, there are many things a human being can cope with: anger, sadness, fear, guilt and more but doubt, doubt is the shit of all shits and it’s right in your nappy. Everywhere you go people smell it. You feel it. When you sit is squashes out the sided and makes us feel stupid, incompetent, lazy, and unworthy – It’s poison to the soul. Doubt is the devil in pyjamas.
Doubt is a curse. We get trapped between today and yesterday and therefore unable to invest in being prepared for tomorrow. That breeds more regret. Because tomorrow arrives and we’re not prepared for it having been so busy trying to work live and breathe with doubt. (a full time occupation)
Now let’s talk what I did: This took me 20 years. But can, with my help, take you a day.
- I wrote a list of all the things I missed in my ex.
- I found where I actually still had everything I thought I missed but in a new form.
- Then I found the drawback of the old form
- I then found the benefit of the new form.
- That meant my decisions, way back, wanting a divorce were right. I had it all and had lost nothing. Gained everything
- I went back made a list and tried to remember all the stuff that gave me the shits about being married to my ex. (long list long forgotten)
- I found out where I had all the qualities that gave me the shits in her, in me. (in some form, to the same degree)
- I searched for the benefit of those to me and to others.
- I thanked her. ( and my kids new step dad)
- I thanked the past for teaching me what I know
- I realised that I was in just the same amount of shit now as I was then (that’s a relief)
- I woke up that running from shit is not real.
- I learnt how to handle more shit in life
- I realised that handling more shit in life is the purpose of life
- I re branded “shit” as challenge
- I became obsessed with growth in myself and others
- I found order in the chaos.
- I realised that growth is important in all areas of life and that we don’t get to choose what comes to grow us
- The more shit (challenge) I have in life, is a pure reflection of how much support I have in life.
- I learnt to accept support and challenge as an inseparable pair and stepped bemoaning challenge.
- I trust my predictions of the future and have no doubt.
My prediction of the future:
- The more support I want, the more challenge I must deal with in love, work, sport and life.
- Every upper I will have will be accompanied by a downer.
- My future prediction isn’t based on pleasure or pain, because they are balanced.
- The more maintenance I do to my mind, body spirit (back on track process) the less big the shit I step into.
- What I want in the future depends 100% on how much shit I’m willing to wade through to get it.
Beyond Doubt Whatever future I plan and build, these are truths that make living a joy… I don’t have a job, I have a life. No doubt.