This Year, I Won’t Look Back And Wonder What Could Have Been


As the year winds down and we rewind the last 365 days, we tend to focus on unswerving conclusions and find fewer reasons to stay engaged. As the reflections flow, so does the judgment about what should or could have happened. The more we feel guilty over unfulfilled promises we gave to the Self and perhaps others, the more we entrap ourselves in reasons and justifications for perceived failure.

The inconvenient truth is that we can learn from our own mistakes only when we know we have made them. Only when we stop misinterpreting our stubbornness for being strong and unbreakable and accept the consequences of staying the same can truly embrace the change we want to be part of.

It is absolutely normal to encounter fears related to the adjustments required in our lives, especially when we choose to pursue a new direction. However, overanalyzing our perceived inadequacy, dwelling on the possibility of a potential fiasco, and projecting the clash between what others expect from us and what we have learned to expect of ourselves does not move us any closer to our desired outcome. The radical action—heartfelt choice over mind driven decision—does.

And it is tough because it demands of us more than a mere agreement or wishful thinking. It requires accepting at that moment all the risks that the choice involves. It means letting go of the need to know everything and trusting that all will be discovered along the way as long as we start the journey.

It means trusting that we are exactly where we need to be. That everything happens when it is ripe to happen and that we never really miss out on what is meant for us. When we are ready, it will show up even if we have to walk the twisted path.

It means to keep choosing, despite the anxiety and uncertainty the choice creates as we break through the internal structure of our beliefs about what is possible or what we need to become in order to be worthy. It means to trust and to surrender because the more we resist the change, the more frustrating and stifling our circumstances become. The more we wish to change, the more we stay the same. The more we try, the less we do.

The next time you catch yourself in the unproductive pattern of your thoughts, ruminating on what could have happened, ask yourself instead, “What have I truly wanted?” Then ask yourself, “What were my challenges in achieving what I have wanted?” Once you can’t come up with any more answers, ask yourself these two final questions: “How big of a deal it is for me to have it/accomplish it? What am I willing to do to get it?”

Those answers will change our life. Fantasizing about wanting something does not make that desire a reality. Not recognizing the potential challenges ahead of time depletes our energy while keeping us stuck in the same place. And if we can’t assign the importance to what we want, most likely we are trying to pursue just a temporary whim, a mere fantasy. Perhaps what we want is not our true desire and we are just caught u in enjoying wanting it. Maybe we don’t actually want it at all.

Nothing ever happens or changes without effort, intention, and commitment. Success and failure don’t exist without each other. Failure and struggle clarify the meaning of what we truly want, because each letdown takes us deeper into the core of our own humanness. It puts us through harshness and sharp edges of the circumstances. It teaches us to withhold and to withstand the uneasiness that comes with them, but only when we are prepared to reinvent ourselves on the path to meet our true wants.