The Beauty of Retrospection

We are often told to leave the past behind us and only look forward to the things ahead. This is sound advice but you must learn to take every piece of advice in context. Not every quote you find on the internet applies to your situation and not every good advice is for you. You should know that there is beauty in retrospection.

What is Retrospection?

Retrospection is the act of looking back or evaluating the past. The past has several stories and in those stories is knowledge to be gained and lessons to be learned. You get to examine some of your actions and reactions to certain situations. Retrospection allows a certain level of self-awareness. This is essential if you are going to become more emotionally intelligent. Retrospection also helps you learn from your mistakes.

It is okay to look back from time as long as the intent behind it is to learn and not to beat yourself up.

How to Be Retrospective

Take a look at this conversation:

Remember that situation you were in the other day? Remember how you reacted to that person’s comment? If you can recollect correctly, it is the same way you reacted to the other person’s comment. After you spoke rudely, you went on to feel bad about it.

sepIs there something about those particular comments that got you off balance or is it the fact that you were stressed on both days? Okay, you agree that it is most likely the stress. What does that tell you? That you’re more likely to get agitated when you’re stressed. Exactly!

What does that mean to you? You know you can’t completely avoid being stressed but you can learn to be a bit more patient when responding to other people when you’re stressed. Now, you know stress is the culprit here and you will no longer let stress get the best of you and ruin your relationships.

{Read: How to Cope with Social Stress}

Do you know what just happened? That’s what a retrospective conversation with yourself can look like.

Instead of focusing on how badly behaved you were, you focused on figuring out the cause of your action and what you can do about it moving forward.

In the scenario above, you can go ahead to apologize to the people you spoke to rudely now that you know it was not their fault but yours.

There is beauty in retrospection if done correctly.


Take out some time to look back on the past. You will come to understand yourself better and also learn from your mistakes. 


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