Things happen every day that we could potentially end up regretting. I spend an uncommon amount of time on the phone with my mother discussing the choices I have made in my life and what I do or don’t like about them.
My mother, to her credit, does an amazing job of appearing unbiased, especially considering I am her only child, and I fully appreciate that.
Although I am a fairly bright person, I do tend to make spur-of-the-moment decisions based on what I want right at the time without considering long-term impacts. Understanding myself and the way that I operate, I rarely can picture a different outcome to most events in my life, because although I regret certain actions and choices in the aftermath, I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t make those decisions in the first place.
As soon as something happens, it becomes past, and therefore can no longer be controlled. The best thing to do from there is to try and recognize any benefits that came from your choice, whether it be a heightened awareness of yourself and others, or maybe just an enjoyable time despite it not ending in the way you had hoped.
All regrets do is asphyxiate us while we are trying to live our lives.
I may not be happy with the way something I chose to say or do turned out, but agonizing over it does nothing except make me feel badly about myself and prevent me from moving on with my life.
Every time I call my mother to stress about something, she interrupts me and asks a simple question:
“Was there anything about it that you enjoyed?”
Inevitably, there always is. Whether it was happiness over a new purchase despite not having enough funds, pleasure from engaging in sexual congress with someone I shouldn’t really be with, or a better understanding of myself as a person.
This is not to say that this perspective should afford us the ability to do whatever we want, whenever we want, but we, as humans, are fallible. We will make mistakes and when we do, we need to learn to roll with the punches.
I will understand that the choice was mine, it didn’t go well, and I will try extremely hard to never do it again. But I will also remember the good feelings associated with it and hold on to them whenever I start to feel that sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach.
You can never tell exactly how events in your life change you, or others. I believe that everything happens for a reason and I am positive that as long as my heart is in the right place, I will end up where I am supposed to.
Unless I regret the person that I am, there is no regretting anything I have done.
**Disclaimer** This does not, in any way, apply to choices you make to intentionally hurt someone. That’s just you being purposefully cruel and you really ought to feel badly about yourself in that case.