There is no such thing as ‘no regrets’. There isn’t a life lived ‘without regret’. Of course, we want to live with as little regret as possible, but to say ‘I don’t have any regrets’, is also saying, ‘I made no mistakes along the way and I wouldn’t change anything.’ Really? Deep down is that really true? I’ve heard multiple people say that they’re happy who they are now and where they are now. And that if they change something in their past, they’d be a different person today. But that is a hypothetical argument that to me, shows an unwillingness of awareness, acceptance, and acknowledgement. By admitting to the fact that you did make a mistake that maybe you’re not proud of…and that you would have done that differently knowing what you know now…really allows you to learn and grow from your past. It provides an opportunity of reflection, and then closure. And by the way, that mindful reflection isn’t going to instantly change who you are right now. It’s not going to make you an unattractive individual. Actually, self awareness, ownership, and growth is seen as beautiful…and it leads to a wondrous transformation. You actually will be somewhat different after this acceptance, considering the new and truer path you’ll be forging.
This isn’t an easy process by the way. It’s the more difficult decision to execute. That’s partly why I believe it’s the right way. Typically, the easy way…the ‘sweep it under the rug’, lazy, everything I did was fine, and I don’t regret even when I affected others negatively stance…is easier. And that is wrong. Reflecting on what we’re not so proud of in the past means opening up the closet and dealing with those damn demons again. Who the hell wants to do that? It’s ugly, somewhat belittling, and can even be tragic and depressing.
The small regrets are usually no big deal. For me, one of them is…’I wish my friend and I didn’t break that guys barn windows with rocks when we were young.’ The windows are still boarded up to this day. I’m 38…and drive by the barn often…ugh. Well, I guess it’s fitting that I have to often see one of my regrets!
The bigger regrets though, have larger and meaner demons connected to them though. It’s worth me stating that before letting these out of the closet, you may want to contact a professional. If you’re unsure about whether you should or not…than you should. Therapists, psychologists, and psychiatrist have been trained accordingly. They are so valuable in helping you reflect…helping you open that closet door carefully, and then crush those demons down to manageable little monsters. Some of them may be too big to crush, depending on your past. But the process will at least provide you with some closure, and the ability to function most effectively after doing so. Now…this also gets a little away from regretting what you have done yourself, and perhaps into circumstances that you were put into by others. To me, regret has to do with a choice that you yourself made…something you did. A rough childhood, or resources not available to you, or basic fulfillment of needs for instance is something others would have to regret…not you. It’s still something you’d have to work through of course, but not something regrettable for you. It’s a different feeling. Either way, this dealing with the demons of the past is highly effective.
Yesterday, I did some great things. But yesterday, I also made some mistakes. I even knowingly made the wrong decision at times yesterday. Regardless of how big or small those were…and how influential they actually may be…they are still items that I can look back on as regrettable. I’m not going to dwell on them today. I’m not going to let it bring me down today. Instead, I’ll quickly acknowledge them, learn from them, and try to be better today. With some practice, I can better myself. I can mitigate the regret. I can improve today, and tomorrow. I can use regret an inspirational and motivational trigger. It doesn’t have to be negative. It’s part of a growth mindset, knowing that I can make less mistakes in the future. I can develop. I can make progress. I can change. I am malleable. I am…becoming gold.