Ever spent hours ruminating over something you said and wished you’d used different words? Or do you look back at the past with regret at something you did with the hope you could turn back time? It sounds like you could do with some kindsight.
What is kindsight?
Kindsight is the practice of looking at the past in a much gentler way. It suggests you reflect upon events and situations and ask what you were learning, rather than using the past as a stick to beat yourself with. For people who struggle with the idea of letting things go (such as me), kindsight is a way to look at what those events were teaching you and then move on.
Kindsight as you probably guessed is a portmanteau of kindness and hindsight. We use hindsight as a way of understanding a situation or event after it has happened thinking about what we would have done differently had we been aware of certain information. It can either be used in a slightly passive way or as a way to beat ourselves up. Kindsight in a sense is taking more responsibility and thinking about the learning – not in a blaming way – but to help us reach a sense of closure.
We can also use kindsight to understand that we can’t always predict or control other people. I have a strong sense of justice and sometimes feel stung when I feel things haven’t been resolved properly. However, I’m not a judge or a jury and it’s not for me to determine how other people should be dealt with. Likewise, waiting for a perceived injustice to be acknowledged also puts the control firmly with others and leaves you powerless: you are left waiting for someone to recognise your feelings, which realistically may never happen. Kindsight helps us to reflect on those situations and accept the behaviours of others is out of our sphere of influence.
Why do we struggle to let things go?
We often use the past to confirm the stories we think about ourselves. It helps us reinforce where we think we’re not good enough or what our perceived weaknesses are. However, it’s very easy to pick out selected memories that reinforce our self-limiting beliefs (whilst selectively forgetting about the ones that don’t). Human beings don’t like to be wrong, which is why we find it so easy to remember moments which clarify our negative thoughts about ourselves.
Benefits of kindsight
- It helps us reframe the past in more of a positive way
- It enables healing (by not blaming)
- We learn from situations and events but in a gentler way – we are enquiring into what we learnt and not telling ourselves what we should have learnt
- It gives us a deeper sense of understanding
- It provides us with acceptance.
- It gives us closure with kindness
- And helps us to move on.
We are all much more than the sum of our pasts. It is only the present that matters.