We all have them.
The size of them varies. There are the big ones and the little ones and the ones in between.
They weigh differently on us but they weigh still.
Some date back to childhood, and some are as recent as yesterday’s.
A good portion of them were unavoidable.
We just didn’t know enough, were not mature enough, didn’t think enough, weren’t bold enough.
Regrets may go into hiding, sometimes for long periods of time, but they never go away.
And that’s by design.
Our memory wants us to learn from our mistakes, not keep repeating them.
Our memory wants us to decipher our code and become better at making choices.
If we’re not numbing our minds, by whichever method we select, they always find a way back into our consciousness.
Becoming friends with our regrets is important. It is taking a step toward healing.
They yearn for acceptance, to be embraced. They want our minds to say, ‘Yes, that was me doing that… it was me. I could have been kinder, I could have been wiser, more patient or bolder. But I was not.’ And then they ask of us to understand why we weren’t kinder, wiser, more patient or bolder.
Regrets are not popping up to punish us, they’re coming back to ask us to do the homework of understanding.
Through understanding, our acceptance becomes fuller.
As it does our minds grow deeper and stronger. Keep doing it and it adds up.
Before long we will be on the road to forgiveness. And then moments of peace.
Forgiving ourselves, forgiving others.
For those who persist and keep working with their regrets, deciphering them and letting them enrich us, there is a grand reward. The sense of personal freedom. Knowing who we are. ‘This is me!’ We may call it our core.
And knowing that our core is there, that we’ve had a hand in building it, is a source of great strength.
We found it. We own it. ‘I am making me.’
The uncertainties of the road ahead will then be easier to face and manage.
Years and years ago, when I was a freshman in college, while taking an English class, the professor, in discussing a short story he’d assigned, commented that we never get to know ourselves completely. I disagree. And yet, there are always surprises.
Having an interest in our mind is most satisfying.
As inviting as the discovering is, not everyone is inclined to do so. If you do, keeping a private diary is useful. I’ve addressed that in a separate blog.
So let us welcome our regrets. Let us look at them as stimuli that enrich and sharpen purpose, helping us fulfill the most of our possibilities.