Like I’ve repeated ad nauseam to anyone who follows my Twitter account, 2017 is the year of honesty. As the year has progressed, society’s eyes have been widened to all the goings on in the world, things that have been kept hidden behind closed doors for years. And in light of new revelations, we haven’t always liked what we’ve seen.
Much of the news these days leaves us disgusted, outraged, and flailing to find a resolution. And when we, the observers, are left with more questions than answers, it’s uncomfortable to sit in that lack of knowledge. So what happens? We lash out, and sometimes say things that look terrible in hindsight.
It’s hard not to judge people for how they react to something in the moment, because it’s where we live. In the moment. And we’re quick to jump on someone and tell them what they “should” have done differently to not spark outrage. After all, they said something that I wouldn’t have, and I’m so perfect after all, aren’t I?
That’s not to say that there’s no chance of retribution for someone if their initial reaction was less than favorable to their audience. If you own up to your mistakes and admit where you messed up, people can learn to forgive you much easier. But I’m noticing a growing trend of people at fault pointing out what they “should” have done when it’s time for them to apologize.
Should have been smarter, should have controlled myself, should have taken your feelings into account. Just because you’re lucid enough to know where you went wrong, it doesn’t mean all your current actions make up for what happened. If you live in the “should have’s,” you create an idealized version of yourself , someone who did everything right in hindsight, despite what current actions you may be taking. And if you hear the “should have’s” one too many times from someone, perhaps it’s time to look forward instead of back.
We’re not perfect beings, but we expect others to be. It’s how we’re able to ignore red flags in relationships and stay loyal to an idolized person. It’s helpful to remember that no one is infallible, and those who think they are usually have a harder fall ahead of them.
Everyone gets found out eventually. The veil of perfection will always be lifted, be it temporarily or irrevocably. Those of us lucky enough not to be in the limelight when our skeletons come out can privately and quietly bring ourselves back to wherever we started. And it’s okay to admit the path you were taking wasn’t quite as perfect as you thought it was.
Tides come in, they go out, and something new can always wash up. Your perfect sandy beach could be washed away if you’re not careful, and the placid picture could crumble and fall in an instant. But it’s okay. Just like you can’t be mad at nature, you can’t be mad at the actions you “should” have taken.
You (should) build your perfect person in the here and now, not in hindsight. The year of honesty is rapidly coming to a close, and there will be another twelve months to experience right behind it. Ask yourselves: are you satisfied with living in the “should have’s” or are you willing to take a chance and bet on the “could be’s?”