I don’t believe in regret, at least I try not to. Obviously I believe in it as a concept, I’m not some weirdo flat Earther or creationist type who denies the existence of fundamentally proven things.
No, I mean I choose not to adhere to regret in my life.
I’ve made a ton of good choices in my life and definitely my fair share of bad ones. In both cases then end results of those choices have sometimes resulted in completely opposite effects than I expected or intended.
In every case though it was a choice I made that led to that, so good or bad I have to own it and move forward. There is absolutely no point dwelling on it with regret.
If the result was good you can look back on it and think to yourself, “Great! What did I do that led to that?”
Then you learn from it and either try to replicate it, improve upon it or try and see if you could have got to the same result in a better way.
If the result was bad though don’t regret the choice made. Do exactly the same thing! Learn, improve, try something different.
Not everything that happens to us in life is a matter of choice, sometimes something is a consequence of factors beyond your control. Whatever happens may effect you, but there is nothing you can do with regret in that situation.
The better way to move forward is to see if there was anything you could have done to improve the outcome. It won’t always be the case, but sometimes it might be.
I’ve felt like this in some form or another for most of my life at this point. It took me years to be able to process it and figure it out fully though. I’m pretty sure it goes back to losing my dad when I was twelve. He was only forty nine and it was his third heart attack in as many years. I’m pretty sure my dad had a lot of regrets.
Though my teenage years people often thought I was very aloof, I was a bit of hippie, a stoner, never really put much effort into a whole lot and didn’t care as much as I should have.
It’s a whole different topic, but I do think a lot of people care way too much about way too much. I just took it too far in the opposite direction.
In my twenties I definitely grew up and did care about things, but I still maintained the ability to move on past both positive and negative situations without regretting any of it.
Here I am in my early thirties, staring down the barrel of a divorce after only a few years. A lot of people in this situation would probably be filled with regrets, but I’m not.
I don’t regret the time I had with Sara. The vast majority of it was amazingly happy. I don’t regret getting married, that day was the most fun day ever and getting all my friends and family together and having a big party was amazing... and I went to Hawai’i!
I don’t even regret the way it ended. It’s incredibly sad, sure, but I also was just a third party to it, a spectator. I know I had done everything I could to make any problems right before they reached a breaking point but it is not something I could fix on my own and so there is nothing for me to regret there.
I don’t see it as a bad thing to look back and think, “Oh man, that could have been a whole lot better.”
Or, “Well that sucked, what a shame.”
But if it’s something fleeting and trivial then who cares. Move on. If it is something that may come up again, think about what you could do differently to make it better. If it is something you’ve done that you are not proud of and wish you could have done differently, own it, if it’s possible to make amends or at least peace with it and then learn from it in the future.
I was saying this to someone the other night and it’s a feeling I’ve expressed a lot over the last twenty years; I’m sad my dad died when he did, I miss him a lot and the time we could have spent together, but I don’t regret it. I wouldn’t be who I am today if he had lived longer. His dying when I was at such a formative age had a profound effect on who am became and you know what?
I really like who I am.
Don’t get lost in regret. It’s dark down there and no one can help you out.