We beat ourselves up. A lot. When was the last time you really had a go at yourself for something? Me? Last night. I had sent a form off and hadn’t done blah and it got sent back. Idiot! There are lots of others, some big and some small.
Often we see pundits or experts chastise people for bad decisions. We chastise in turn chastise ourselves for bad decisions. The thing is, we make the decisions we make when we make them. That job you should have gone for ten years ago, the raise you should have asked for, you should have had cereal not toast this morning for breakfast, if only I had left 5 minutes earlier this morning, and so it goes on. The thing is, we are the master of our own destinies. We have complete agency over everything we do, whether we like it or not.
You made that decision at that time for the reasons you had and the options you perceived to have open to you then, not now but then. There is so little point in beating ourselves up about past decisions, it’s laughable. I remember talking to a fast jet pilot once (who, just as a reminder flies at around 1-2000 miles per hour) who said “If I spend any time at all thinking about a wrong decision, I’ll die.” To be honest we could all take that advice to heart. Sure, we might not wrap a multi-million dollar jet around an inconveniently placed building but when we spend time pondering past decisions we instead die a little death wasting time on what might have been rather than concentrating on what is and what might be (best to be present and future-looking can cause anxiety also but is probably better than past-looking). Take the photo at the top of this post. I’m skydiving (in a pink vest and we can look at that another time) and I’ve jumped from a serviceable aircraft with only a thin piece of faux silk to delay my untimely demise. There’s really no point in wondering if it was a good decision, the only thing to do is think through what I need to do next.
The good shit sticks, you’ll take forward what you need and forget the rest.