Let me tell you a story of regret.
In a fit of emotion, I have said things that at the time were the epitome of what I was feeling. My words reflected my state of mind right there and then.
I yelled, I became upset, my words flew out of my mouth without filter. It wasn’t until after all had boiled down and I, retreated to my room with anger and frustration, instantly felt another negative emotion, a feeling of dread.
This dread was different from what I initially felt that caused me to be angry. What I felt now, without even thinking about my actions, was regret.
Sounds like a pretty generic story, doesn’t it? Regret plays out when we do or say something, oftentimes completely consciously and in the heat of the moment, and after the fact, sometimes sooner and sometimes later, we regret it.
You see, the truth about regret, is that it plays many parts in our lives. It can come when we least expect it, when we make a decision and are simply so sure that this is the right decision to make. Sometimes, we regret doing something while we are doing it, but outside factors push us toward it.
This is all very theoretical, and there are thousands upon thousands of actual examples that can constitute what regret really is.
Underneath all circumstantial details, there are some truths to the regret that we feel that we must come to terms with, and that we cannot avoid.
A moral compass
For one, our regret represents that we actually feel bad for something. It indicates our moral compass is working. We only regret something that we know was wrong. Being able to distinguish right from wrong is the critical root of all regret- and is by far the most positive way of thinking about it as well.
There has to be light to be able to recognize the dark. Regret is the first step to redemption and truth.
What we value
Our regret also shines light on what matters to us and what doesn’t. The less we regret something, the less value is in the person we may have wronged or hurt, or the moral misdeed we have engaged in.
Which is to say, to feel little to no regret about wronging oneself is an indicator of a lack of self value- and an important warning sign that one should start caring about themselves. We must learn to value ourselves before we can value anyone else.
Unavoidable, constant change
Regret shows change, it shows that we are in a different place than we were way the time of committing an action. Although change is not always a good thing, it is not always a bad thing either.
Regardless of its good or bad, change is inevitable. Regret will happen undoubtedly with change- our values may change, the people who mean something to us may change. We all change as people, and regret is part of the package.
For those who feel regretful of actions in the face of God, and the determination of our deeds for entry into heaven or hell in the afterlife- or simply for someone who likes to keep a clean slate and be moral- it is important to remember that intention matters.
People are wired to make mistakes, we are imperfect. If we were perfect, we would never even try to aspire a better world, a better afterlife. WE would work hard for nothing, and that would defeat the purpose of our lives.
In a way, regret and directly from it, our mistakes and negative actiosn keep us humble and remind us of what really matters. We never get too full of ourselves for being good, and we balance our future actions along our regret.
We constantly strive to be better, and our hearts remain clean and constantly striving for good. We cannot have good hearts simple because we do good.
We have good hearts and good intentions, if we can identify the wrong, and strive actively on a daily basis to stay away from our mistakes. How can we ever be better people if we never knew the bitterness of being lesser?
Focus on what you CAN change
Another important thing we need to remember to keep us from wallowing in regret- is knowing that nothing can change the past. We can only change what we think of the past- even if sometimes we cant change how we feel about the past.
Because in truth, this is life. Regret is not something that can be avoided, we as human beings are constantly moving forward, and to never feel regret is to never move forward.
So, the next time you feel ultimately regretful for any decision or thought or action- no matter the size of the regrettable deed on the spectrum of small and unimportant to large and life-changing, remember that there is nothing you can do to change it.
Rather than taking our regret in a negative light, we can learn from it. It sounds cliché for sure, but clichés are often rooted in truth.
We can take our regret and examine it all we wish. We can even regret the fact that we feel regret. But in the end, we have to remember that to move forward in life and to be better with each passing day, we are bound to regret some, if not many, of the things that we leave behind.
And rather than allowing regret to be a feeling that keeps you from moving forward, we have to learn to use our regret as a motivator to success, as a means to be better than what we regret. To be better than we once were.
To regret things means that we desire for more than we once were. And rather than simply desiring and moping, we have to take action. Take a look at what you regret, and see just how you can change your future actions to ensure you do not repeat the same mistake again.
Prove to yourself that you are different. Make an effort to not only be different, but to be better. Our every instance of regret is one of those huge billboards shaped in an arrow- showing us the way forward. In a way, it is a shortcut to finding out how to move past the past and into the future that we dream of.
Your dreams can become reality. You just have to examine every aprt of yourself to get there- and the truth about regret is that it is an essential part of the journey to your destination.
The truth about regret, in the end, is that it is essential to life. Regret is not a nice emotion to feel, but the fruits that come from it, the future that takes flight from its seed, is something we could never even hope to attain otherwise.