“Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.”Buddha
These are the things that we remember in the quiet night: the stupid thing we said eight years ago, the friend we let slip away because we got too busy, a decision that set us down a path we wish we’d never gone down, and a myriad of other things. Welcome to your regrets.
Yes, You Did It.
We can’t escape the reality of something we’ve done. Once it’s done it’s been implanted into the drying cement of our lifetimes. The only difference here is that the only people who’ll know about it are the ones that help lay it and the people we show. The important thing is to realize that It’s been set. There’s no breaking up the concrete. It’s part of your path now.
Accept this. Learn from it. Don’t forget it. Move on.
One of the big ways our regrets has power over us is when we refuse to accept it.
Watch out for denial. Even when you think the truth is too hard to accept, realize that It’s harder to live in a false reality. Situations can be fixed and you have the ability to improve yourself.
They’re A Part Of Your Story
Ominously, Louie CK said,
“If you go back in time and undo all of your mistakes, you erase yourself.”
I agree with this sentiment. Even though we’re not proud of the things we’ve done, they are a part of us now, and we did them for a reason. They’re indicators of things we want to change about ourselves. Let them be direction in the ways you wish to change. Did you blow up on someone when they didn’t deserve it? Perhaps It’d be good to check out articles on anger management. Do you regret stealing from someone? Perhaps you can do some honest soul searching into why you took the thing you did. The point here is not to justify what you’ve done, but to understand yourself on a deeper level.
Whatever it is that makes you see yourself as an enemy, own it, understand it, and transform it. We love flawed characters in our books and movies and we love their ability to change. Don’t hate yourself for a flaw but don’t be content with being someone you don’t want to be either.
Apologize Where It’s Due
When our regrets involve hurting other individuals, we owe it to them AND ourselves to confess and own up to them. We can’t control their reactions but we can control the kind of individual we are. It’s much better to be able to live with yourself; getting forgiven by others can go a long way towards forgiving yourself.
If they decide not to then at least you tried. They might not think you deserve forgiveness, and maybe you feel the same way, the important thing is that coming clean gives back power to those you’ve wronged to make a value judgement. Remember, they could be hurting just as bad as you are. Perhaps It’s what they need to hear for their own recovery. Perhaps they need time to handle the truth, just as much as you do.
For things that solely impacted us, things that were just downright embarrassing, we have to let go of them. I’ve had my fair share of things I should’ve have said or at the very least phrased differently. I’m not a fan of people saying “Cringe” for a lot of things, but It’s an apt description. Again, accept they happened and learn from it.
For the serious regrets that you can’t forgive yourself for, you should probably seek therapy. They’ll be able to get you in touch with communities of individuals who have done something similar, or perhaps they can point you towards useful resources to help you get yourself back on your feet. When I was struggling with self-forgiveness, I found that reading through self-help books gave me a lot of inspiration towards becoming who I want to be.
Do you struggle with regrets? What sort of things help keep them from your mind? Do you have trouble forgiving yourself?
Thanks for reading~
“I can’t believe I said that when I was five years old and didn’t know any better. I must be a complete and total idiot.”