We all have things we regret, whether we want to admit it or not. Now, I could be completely projecting here but I find the people who claim they have no regrets are either being inauthentic or maybe to some degree, ignore their regrets by claiming they don’t exist. I almost feel like it’s a point of pride for people to proclaim they have never done anything in their lives they wish they could have differently. Is this a degree of ignorance on their part or is this something I’m projecting on others? Because I certainly know I have regrets in life.
Noting insurmountable but shoot, there are definitely things I wish I would have done differently in life. One thing off the top of my mind is how crappy I treated people in high school. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I wasn’t always the nicest guy in high school because I was insecure and thought if I was an ass, no one would see how vulnerable I truly was.
In college I ended up leaving a major that I loved for a major I thought would fast track me to money and material wealth. That’s not to say that I’m not glad I received my MBA and that’s certainly not to say I don’t believe my MBA will help me in my quest to help people understand they are not their thoughts in the future. However, I feel regret in the sense that if I stuck on the path of psychology, I might have been able to help people sooner.
I’ve always known I wanted to help people but when we’re young we don’t know shit! We tend to take the path of least resistance and because of that, we choose convenience over passion.
Here’s the thing about regret through:
It’s okay to admit you have regrets! What’s not okay is to constantly live with those regrets.
Here’s the difference: admitting you have regret is like taking inventory of your past. Just because the regrets are in stock, doesn’t mean you need to buy them!
Living with regret is like continuing to buy that pack of powdered sugar donuts when you know they are bad for you. Admitting you had regrets is like admitting you have an obsession with those delicious sugary donuts and choosing not to buy them the next time you’re at the store.
See the difference?
In one case you let the regret live through you and in the other you see the regret for what it is—simply a feeling or a thought. When you see this, as with all mindfulness techniques, you’re free to choose a healthier means to navigate through your regrets or perhaps even reconcile those regrets.
To deny that we have things in life that we regret is the same as denying an emotion or thought. In some sense when you deny a thought or an emotion you are effectively denying a part of yourself. The cognitive dissonances this creates within in you only increases suffering.
Mindfulness, and more specifically meditation , allows us to shed light on these things within ourselves that we subconsciously deny. Similar to addiction in that the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem, the first step to living without regret is admitting you have regrets.
Seeing the regret within us is only step one. The next step is to completely accept the regret. Accept that you feel a particular kind of way and also fully accept that the past is the past and what is done is done.
With complete acceptance of our regrets we can spend our energy on trying to either resolve the regrets or make peace with them. Either way, you can use mindfulness as a tool to help you see what feelings and thoughts accompany the regret. Mindfulness will help you spot those feelings of sadness when we experience regret but perhaps most importantly, we can use a mindfulness practice to ask ourselves what we want.
For example, is this regret something I accept and if not, why? If through introspection you find that you simply must remedy the regret, you can use mindfulness to ask yourself what it is inside you begging you to make amends to this part of your life.
If your soul demands this of you, that’s okay because now you have purpose behind “why” you must reconcile your regret. Without this mindfulness introspection we run this risk of letting our regrets suck us down instead of lift us up!
I encourage you to write down 2 things you regret in life and explore them with mindfulness introspection. Can you accept the regret for what it is or does it need to be reconciled? If actions in lieu of acceptance are you’re hearts demands that’s okay too! Let your hearts desire be the wind at your sails and carry you to the life you feel you must be living.
Thanks you as always for reading today’s post! I’d love to hear about those of you out there who are like me—who’ve had regret but choose to not live with it!
Until next time,
Many many blessings!!