Tag Archives: regret

Monday’s Meditation: On Passing Judgment On Our Past Decisions

Monday, July 17, 2017

I’ve made a handful of regrettable decisions in my life; who hasn’t?

I’ve chosen people to be friends with that were toxic and leached off of my stability. 

I acted flippantly with many boys’ hearts (Biggest Flirt in high school four years running right here). 

I know that over the years I’ve said things that, were I to recall them, would leave me cringing deeply.

I most certainly chose the wrong college to attend. I mean the one that was so, so wrong for me on every level in the most obvious of ways. And then I merely survived my years there.

I forgot my best friend’s birthday one year, a fact which haunts me to this day. Even though I didn’t technically forget, because I sent a card in advance of it, but then let the actual day slide right by without acknowledgment.

I took on one truly terrible, miserable, no good client. Or make that one and a half.

Regret is a funny thing. It’s an emotion we all feel about various decisions in our pasts from time to time, yet in principle, we know better than to invest in.

We understand on some level that regardless of what went down in the past or how, or what terribly uncouth comment we made, or hideous shirt we wore every third day of third grade (seriously, why?), our past is the path we took to get where we are today. And today we are alive, so all things considered, it’s the best place to be.

Beyond that, the reason why regret cannot be substantiated is that it involves passing judgment in the present over decisions made in the past. Nothing could be more unfair.

We have information now that we didn’t then. We have acquired wisdom we didn’t yet possess in the past. We are now (hopefully) fuller, more expressed, more loving versions of ourselves than we used to be. Of course it’s easy to sit on our high horses of everything-we-know-today and pass judgment on our sophomoric selves of yesterday. 

Regret cannot and will not rectify what has passed. And since nothing that has passed is alterable, regret merely manages to keep us trapped in a state of self-hatred, shame, and negativity. 

Our power to change the past is limited to the opportunity we have to view it differently, and to do that we must move from regret to forgiveness. 

Regret shames and shuns; forgiveness reminds us what necessary lessons were born from our past experiences.

Regret punishes us for not being good enough or experienced enough; forgiveness tells us we did our best. 

Regret keeps us focused on what was; forgiveness paves the way for could be.

We are born to grow. We are here to evolve into our most fully expressed, loving selves. And the path to get to that state is thorny and untamed. We aren’t gaily frolicking down a paved road, here. We’re off-roading it through the brambles, and learning which plants are prickly as we go. 


Monday’s Meditation: On Finding Out Things Are Wrong For You, Or: On Finding Yourself

Monday, April 28, 2014

A reminder that anything that teaches us more about ourselves is not ultimately a failure.

The other day I was chatting with a recent college grad. He was despondent because his first job out of school was proving to be less than stellar–soul sucking was the term he used to described it, I believe.

My response–the one I usually give in such conversations–was that at least the job was informing him of what he absolutely doesn’t want to do with the rest of his life.

He reacted the way people usually do, with detached agreement. A sort of “Yeah, I guess you’re right but that doesn’t exactly take the sting out of it.”

I get that.

But the thing of it is, the business of finding out who you are and why you are here can be the greatest challenge for some people. It can be the work of a lifetime.

Of course, it’s preferable to inherently know what will be best for you, rather than having to endure painful circumstances in order to gain that knowledge. Sinking a hole in one feels fantastic. The only thing that comes close is the feeling of finally draining that ball after countless mis-strokes.

Sometimes, you can’t know until you know. Sometimes you have to try things on for size, walk around in them a little in order to determine if they fit. 

Finding out that a career path, a relationship, an environment or a lifestyle isn’t for you does have value–albeit seemingly less value than identifying ventures that are overwhelmingly suited for you, but value nonetheless.

When you remember that it’s all a journey–a game, really–the end goal of which is Simply to find happiness and love, you can forgive yourself and others who might have guided you into ill-suited endeavors.

As long as you keep trying, with positivity and faith in yourself, you are bound to overcome any misery, regret or shame from the decisions of your past, and move forward towards far greater things than you could have possibly imagined.