Living Life with Regret
No – the title is not a typo. I deliberately wrote with regret – not without.
Too many times we are made to feel guilty about having regrets, but there are very few genuine people who have no regrets in their past. Regrets (disappointments, sorrows, distresses) - are an unavoidable part of life. We all have them. Most commonly they relate to relationships, health, finances, career and education.
There is nothing wrong with having regrets – we just should not be debilitated by them, trapped by them, or haunted by them forever. The scars we carry, both seen and unseen, tell a unique story about who we are now and about what we have overcome to get here.
Regrets are an unavoidable part of being human. I regret many aspects of my marriage to my son’s father for example, but I would not have changed that path even in hindsight because my son is the product of that turbulent relationship. I have made a deliberate choice not to be bitter about aspects of this relationship which were out of my control. I choose not to be consumed with regret.
Sometimes regrets are out of our control, such as educational opportunities which were not open to us or difficult relationships with our family. Others were in our control, like decisions about our career direction, which if we had our time over again we would have made differently.
What is important is how we move forward, leaving regrets behind us, while at the same time not forgetting the lessons learnt along the way. This is a way of living with regret, but not being controlled by it. Rick Warren, author of The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here For? Said it best:
“We are products of our past, but we don’t have to be prisoners of it”.
This week, let’s accept the regrets of the past as part of who we are today- never forgetting them so that we don’t repeat them. Then let’s consciously move forward to embrace a life of maturity, wisdom and confidence - the kind of life which only comes from “having a past”.