Saudade and the Struggle of Our Past Choices.
This situation was dragging the life out of me, and I just wanted to live.
We all have those repeated scenarios that somehow lead us on the path to regret. Was I too quick to judge? Did I act impulsively? Could I have tried other ways? Should I have stayed? Did I walk away too soon?
Stemming from different scenarios either in the workplace, in personal relationships, or important life moves, the shadow of doubt seems to find a way as fast as a few days later or even if it’s just a few years after. In Portuguese language, they have a nice term for this state: saudade.
The word itself represents a nostalgic state, and it implies reminiscing, retrieving feelings from the past and longing for someone or something that is not there at the moment (person, environment, lifestyle or place). I am personally fonder of the use of this word, instead of your full-blown regret-filled memory lane because it helps put everything in perspective, without the guilt.
Why do we experience these moments of questioning past choices?
I believe, first and foremost, that it is a display of our getting in touch with our inner voice and intuition.
We require future evaluation on specific choices in order to test if our intuition was truly guiding us towards those choices or if it was other people, fear, etc. Oftentimes, we find that sadly, despite our momentarily longing for something that is no longer, it was not something that was serving us. The realization of such brings about peace once again.
The second reason why we evaluate past choices is to weigh the impact of our decisions on other people’s lives. Although we cannot be responsible for other people’s behaviors or how they take the things we tell them, on an emotional level, we need to process the experience in the afterward in order to do some damage control — did I hurt someone with my need to express freedom and truth?
This revisiting enables us to continue making decisions based on our intuition, but staying aware of the ways in which we can pursue it without affecting someone else emotionally when we are coming from a rash state of mind. During this stage, we may revisit a situation to make amends, to explain why we left, and to have closure with forgiveness, in the case of leaving in high states of emotion.
So ultimately reminiscing or looking into the past has a higher meaning than actually wanting to sabotage our present with past memories, and just like Mercury retrograde has its predominant periods in the underworld, exploring back there, so do we while undergoing processes of revival and retrieval in order to proceed to the next stages of life more congruently and with more clarity.
Regrets are also the result of life-changing experiences where we come in contact with our heart center, our compassion, and through this higher understanding, we have a yearning to change (from that awareness) most of the things we could not handle during the times we were disempowered about our own lives. But the truth is, it was what it was because it had to be.
When the person/situation we were trying to move away from wasn’t really making an effort to change the dynamics that were bringing us apart, and the whole load was thrown at us, it makes it harder to make a choice without falling into the power struggles of the victim and persecutor roles. But even if they weren’t able to verbalize it, they were giving up on the situation as well.
The one that finally leaves perhaps teaches the other person that it’s never too late for a second chance to grow, to do things differently, and to be happy.
Having said that, everything you do and say is always the result of the right timing. We tend to think that we could have changed something, but if we were to look back in detail at all the moments that build from one and on to the next, we would understand why things had to be the way they were.
Our resilience tends to be higher during our early 20’s and up until mid 30’s, that is because we live most of these years in survival mode, when we are learning about boundaries, self-worth and adopting our own values. That is why it is not surprising that we take the heavier loads in life during those years, before we can stop saying comfortably the words: stop, no, that’s enough.
In a sense, we are getting to know ourselves and how far we are willing to go, only we are still heavily conditioned by outside approval. By our 40’s, we lose that fear or depending on when we choose to awaken, but usually after integrating all the life experience into wisdom from the earlier years.
Self-care and integrity become higher values than proving to others that we can endure tough situations because our sense of courage is no longer founded on the battles we fight, but on the ones we choose not to engage in. That’s crone wisdom right there!
A lot of people comment in their later years how they feel more whole, more authentic, and how they wish they could have spoken their truth sooner. This is how we shift through life’s stages from impulsive to assertive.
Whereas in the first case we were acting on intuition, only without the understanding (hence we question our choice later), in the second one we know exactly why we are leaving, changing, and why it has to be now — not sooner, not later.
Let that be a reminder that moments of regret are the finishing stages of unconscious living that will bring about a new dawn, where we no longer grieve over spilled milk because our reasons were backed up by “It doesn’t feel right” and “I deserve something better for myself.”
Ultimately these rash partings are the only way we can evolve when in a situation that is not balanced. The rise, the fall, the fire, and the withdrawal, are all aspects of evolution that lead to regeneration. It is the way that even nature itself restores balance through hurricanes, eruptions, storms, floods, so if she does it, why are we so scared of letting go of a grip that is drying up our veins?
What if instead we gave ourselves and each other permission to flee, long before we engage in interaction? Let everyone stay as long as they are choosing to stay, and with that, let us rid ourselves of fearful tactics such as bargaining, manipulation and guilt-tripping.
Even though I didn’t understand my choice at the time, I know now I was honoring my truth of not wanting to struggle anymore, and that itself was a great act of courage.
Laura Piquero is the Queen of Duality. A communicator of duality with an emphasis on self-healing and self-transformation, through the process of awakening and honoring our deepest emotions (both light and shadow aspects). Heavily encouraging the process of rebirth through self-destruction and self-construction, and defying — through consciously bold narrative — society, thought patterns, core wounds and beliefs. Kali, Pelé, the tides, the hurricanes, volcanoes, thunder, they all teach us the same thing.