“All this time with regret I lost today. Worrying about Yesterday.” – Comeback Kid
Since my preteen years I would look back at things I did or failed to do and filled my head with the dreadful emotion of regret. It wasn’t until my mid-twenties where I I realized I wanted this feeling to stop, but in order to do so I had to figure out what I could do to fight it, but to also figure out why I was feeling regret in the first place.
I stopped crucifying myself
It all started when I delved into listening to various podcasts, on one podcast, the interviewer brought on a guest and what they discussed had a profound effect on me. The guest addressed his personal battles with addiction, and together they came up with the analogy of the crucifix. To paraphrase, we unintentionally crucify ourselves. On one hand we have nailed down all of our negative thoughts and attitudes that we have constantly told ourselves, or what has been told to us. On the other hand we have nailed down the image of the person we are constantly trying to be. Neither of those two things nailed to our hands exist; the only thing that truly exists is the person who is being crucified.
I Changed My Perspective
“Yes there are two paths you can go by, but in the long run. There’s still time to change the road you’re on.” – Led Zeppelin
If you are experiencing regret from a choice you made, ask yourself, “Would I be in a state of regret if I choice option B instead of option A?” In my experience, I would always imagine what my life would be like if I chose a different option, so I was wasting my time envisioning whatever nonexistent fantasy I was creating in my head. The choices we make, and the doors we choose to leave locked are waves we could have caught on our surfboards, but we passed them up for another one. So I’m making sure the wave I’m riding at this very moment is the best wave I’ve ever ridden. But I’m not worrying. Life is a constant set of awesome swells, once you ride the wave and come to shore you can get back on your board and paddle out to the next set.
I Stopped Feeling Sorry For Myself
So many of us experience regret because of guilt. There are things I’ve done that I wish I hadn’t, but there is nothing I can do now but learn from those mistakes. In Brandon Sanderson’s “The Way of Kings,” a character by the name of Kaladin is about to commit suicide because of guilt he is suffering from in his current predicament. Right at the moment he is about to jump into a chasm another character stops him and convinces him to “try one more time.” When he returns to camp he proclaims that the man who went to the tip of the chasm died, and that a new man emerged. After reading this I began to think of every day – in fact every moment – is an opportunity to reinvent myself. The past is gone and the future does not exist. All that exists is now.
Live in it.
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Photo Credits: Jasper Graetsch