Regrets and Mistakes are Memories Made

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Over the course of our lives, I'm sure one time or another we've all been asked if we regret certain decisions or the course of life we've chosen. I'm not exempt of that inquiry myself. While I make it a goal to always try to focus on my blessings and all the positives in my life, every now and then, when some dreams or goals don't pan out as I wished, I still battle with quick bouts of regrets, but really, who doesn't? After all, regret is mental sorrow, pain of mind, at something done or perhaps left undone. As one Poet J.G. Whittier puts it: "Of all sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest of these: 'It might have been!'" referring to things that we regret, that we wish we could do over and do differently.

Being imperfect humans, no matter how carefully calculated we are when it comes to making "successful decisions" in life, we will always find that each decision embarked on comes with its own set of consequences that can either be good or bad and sometimes plain terrible, and can mentally and emotionally trip us up to the point of weariness. Unfortunately, when such terrible mistakes or bad decisions are made some find themselves constantly plagued with "if onlys". And you have some who are able to overcome those feelings and continue on with their lives. You wonder how can they do it?

The key is to let those regrets and mistakes be memories made (as Adele aptly puts it in her lyrics). In other words, they're memories of what not to do again. You can remember the past (obviously there are regrets and mistakes that are indelibly marked in our minds that only will fade with time), but don't waste valuable energy dwelling on regrets and past mistakes, because continually berating oneself over the past can become so crippling that all it can lead to is complete inability to move forward in life. Instead of expending that energy only to get nowhere, it's better to take positive action that can produce better results - such as, avoid making the same mistakes again - drawing on what the bad choices have taught, and focus on what can be done now to making wiser choices and better decisions moving forward.

So to answer the question if I have regrets? To my chagrin it's an inevitable fact of life, especially for an individual who tends to be a perfectionist - always wanting things to work out perfectly, but obviously that's not possible. Hence, the way I deal with those moments (which I've referred to as quick at the outset) is simply choosing to be a progressive person... meaning that I make it a point to not let those regrettable thoughts stay there when they do enter my mind. I often like to joke saying: 'that I don't rent space in my mind to things that don't contribute to my well-being...if it's toxic, it must be evicted immediately'. It has been said that life can be understood by looking back but that it must be lived by looking ahead. So rather than fretting over past regrets and mistakes, dwelling on what cannot be undone, I daily strive to only concern myself about the present and the future - taking steps that will help me reach my goals in life.

How about you? How do you deal with regrets and mistakes?



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