When I was younger I thought there was a lot of value in, for lack of a better way to describe it, reliving events. I relived events in my head and relived them out loud. And I was a happy listener to anyone who wanted to relive theirs. I should clarify that I do not mean simply replaying events has they happened, but incorporating analysis to determine all the ways the outcome of the event may have been different if any one of numerous circumstances affecting it had been different.
Let me now say unequivocally – reliving events and trying to figure what would have happened if, for example, as a child you had perfect eyesight negating the need to wear glasses and thus the boy you had a crush on may not have told you that you looked like a bug and instead reciprocated your affection. What if so-and-so had said this or that instead of reality? Well, they didn’t and there’s no getting around it.
Though it’s impossible to objectively evaluate oneself I would say that my practice of reliving was fueled by a value I still hold today – self-reflection. It is important to take time to understand what your buttons are so that you may more wisely temper your responses should any of your buttons be activated. Reliving, however, is not self-reflection. Wondering what might have happened or what you might have done if circumstances had been different is not introspection but wishful thinking or worry mongering – whichever way your anxiety swings, inventing more positive scenarios to relieve angst or inventing horrible scenarios because you just can’t help but to create more angst.
So where does this get us? Closer to honesty from which we can make better decisions. There’s peace to be found in accepting that things won’t get any better, that is, if they won’t. If things won’t get better there’s no need to expend the emotional energy thinking they will. Free yourself to use that energy constructively – figuring out what your next move is while considering the options before you.