I remember some years ago when I’d just started college, I was sitting in my American Pluralism class hoping the professor magically forgot to collect the four papers he’d assigned us. #WishfulThinking
I could feel my nerves and stomach turning and I couldn’t focus. This was like, 50 percent of my grade, and I had only written two of the papers required. I sat there wishing I’d just finished all four papers, and that I hadn’t put them off until the last minute. I thought of every possible scenario of what I could’ve done differently. Yet and still, there I was totally unfocused and only worrying. I was full of regret. Up until that point, I hadn’t regretted much in life – most of the time I feel like if I chose something, then I have to just deal with it. #Shrugs
But this time was so different! It hit me that I could fail that class – & the two papers I had done were rushed and done the night before on top of that!
Since then, of course I’ve regretted wayyy more serious things, but the feeling of regret – the knots in the pit of your stomach – is pretty consistent no matter the issue.
To feel sad, repentant, or disappointed over something that one’s self has done or failed to do.
This is regret.
It’s based on things you’ve done, or things you haven’t. & although it’s never a good feeling, there are ways to deal with it and not beat yourself up.
If You Can’t Alter It, Just Accept It.
Even if you can change it, accept it anyway. First things first, you have got to accept the fact that you made a choice that you now regret. If you can’t accept it, you’ll never be able to move forward from it. I also believe that if it’s something you can go back and fix, try! Just make sure you re-evaluate your action plan. Go about the situation working harder and smarter so you don’t end up regretting AGAIN. & sometimes the fix is simply an apology to whoever you may have hurt, even if it’s just yourself.
Remember the Definition of Willful Ignorance.
In some ways, the opposite of regret is willful ignorance – you just act like it didn’t happen and try to keep going like you’re not wounded. You can act all you want, but it will still effect you down the line – wounds need to be treated! & if you act like they aren’t there they’ll only get worse – you’ll end up needing more care than you did in the first place.
Girl, Just Leave the Pieces on the Floor.
Now, I know I said if it’s something you can fix, then fix it. But some experiences are just meant to be lessons. You’ll waste a lot of time trying to fix something that cannot be fixed. You do not have the tools. Chalk it up as a lesson learned. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve noticed that we sometimes have issues accepting things as simply ‘lessons learned.’ Mainly because of how we’re brought up. In school, it’s drilled in us that if you mess up, you’ll be punished – lowered grades, detention, more homework.
So we don’t know how to deal with it as we get older. We’re always fearful of the ‘punishment’ to come. But sis, in the real adult world, lessons learned are one of the primary ways you have the opportunity to grow! I promise it’s not going to lead to an F on your report card or a trip to the principals office. It’ll just push you forward! & of course, sometimes there ARE consequences, but we can still ALWAYS learn.
Regret Doesn’t HAVE to Be Bad.
Hear me out – It isn’t always bad to regret, but should you stay in it? No. Of course not. But it should kick off some positive action. Feeling regret means that you still have a conscience and morals. Although you messed up, you know there is a need to do better. Use it! Let your regret push you into better experiences.
Regret… or Resentment?
Regret is wishing YOU’D done something different. Resentment is wishing THEY would’ve. Always remember the difference between the two. If you confuse them, you’ll end up blaming yourself for things you actually have ZERO control over. If you messed up, own it. But don’t let anyone else place the weight of their downfalls on you. #ChildPlease #YouHaveEnoughToOwn #IAmNotTakingYoursToo
When it’s all said and done – regrets will happen. At some point in life we’ll all do things we wish we wouldn’t have or not do things we wish we had. Accept it, and keep it moving. If you can fix it, great. If not, maybe it wasn’t for you OR it’s just a lesson learned.
An amazing quote I recently read said –
Many of us crucify ourselves between two thieves – regret for the past and fear of the future.
Sis, peace out to your past & smile at your future. She’s waiting. 🙂
How have you dealt with regret in your life? Did you struggle to let it go?