I have found there are five words we have all likely spoken at one time or another to ourselves, usually after having experienced something painful or doing something we regret.
These five words are: “I should have known better.”
These words may seem innocent (and accurate) enough on the surface, but really, the only purpose they serve is a way to beat yourself up.
Maybe you’re going through a job loss or a breakup and you’re beating yourself up because you think you should have known better and could have avoided a painful situation or have seen it coming before it went south.
Or maybe you believe your internal warning system failed you and had you just avoided a certain situation, you’d be better off now.
My response to this is… No, you actually shouldn’t have known better.
Because if you should have known better, you would have known better.
Let me explain.
Often what we’re doing in these types of situations is holding our past selves to the standards of our current awareness and wisdom.
This wisdom wasn’t available at the time, and in fact, was only gained by going through the painful situation itself.
Without having lived it, the awareness to avoid it wouldn’t be there.
So, it’s illogical.
It’s like thinking you should have invested in Apple in the 1980s but didn't, therefore there’s something wrong with you.
Failure is a wonderful teacher.
The clear awareness that arises from it, and the ability to see things clearly in retrospect, is not something to beat yourself up for.
Your thinking that you should have done better is actually evidence of how you have grown and the new awareness you're standing in right now. Appreciate that.
In fact, maybe you can thank your failures for the teaching they bring, dust yourself off and continue on with that much more experience and wisdom under your belt.
So, no, you shouldn’t have known better. But now that you know better, there’s an opportunity to do better, now and in the future.
How has this landed for you? Can you relate to these ideas? I'd love to hear your thoughts. Send me an email at [email protected].
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