Lessons we learn from regret.

Regret: feeling sad, repentant, or disappointed over (something that has happened or been done, especially a loss or missed opportunity). Oxford Dictionaries

We cannot live looking back in constant regret, but we can learn the lessons regret teaches us. True that we cannot undo or change what’s been done, but regret does serve a purpose. On looking back and feeling deep sorrow, we can learn from those missed chances and a lot about ourselves. Some may be character flaws, which we want to change, and this is the opportunity to act differently.

We always realize when it’s too late that we’ve screwed up, but in the future we can try to not repeat the same mistakes and this is our second chance, or third. Just as long as we are aware that acting a certain way will eventually hurt in the future from experience, we can save ourselves from collecting yet another regret.

I have my regrets and many flaws; some, with age, have gotten better as I’ve become aware and deeply ashamed of my past behavior. (We alcoholics carry a lot of regret and shame). I have, since then, been able to at least make amends whenever possible and have tried to never again fail people so thoughtlessly.

Now, at 50, I have plenty of regrets, just as I, I’m sure, many have failed in the same or similar ways. Being upfront with our regrets and writing them down can be the beginning of healing the broken pieces, at least, if no other’s, your own.

I regret:

  • Not having listened to my parents good advice. I actually thought when I was young that they didn’t want me to be happy. So, I made not only myself unhappy making the wrong choices, but them too. This one is probably the most popular and shared by many.
  • Not having loved enough, or better yet, showed it in actions enough.
  • Not hugging the people I loved more.
  • Not having spoken when I was hurt, which only made things worse.
  • Not telling people how I really felt.
  • Saying yes when I should have said no, to spare people’s feelings.
  • Saying no when I should have said yes.
  • Having been extremely selfish.
  • Not knowing how to share a life with someone, ever.
  • Not flying to Spain when my Dad was at the hospital
  • Not walking in my friend’s shoes to better understand how she was feeling. Time took care of that and I then knew all too well what I had missed. I have to admit I wasn’t thoroughly there for her.
  • Having always thought that it was too late for almost everything. Many missed chances there.
  • Being too afraid to try new things.
  • Having loving conditionally.
  • Not reaching out when I most needed to.
  • Ignoring, all too often the elephant in the room.
  • Not volunteering and giving more of my time.
  • Allowing people to use me.
  • Not being patient when people needed me to be.
  • Not showing my appreciation more often.
  • Not until now BEING GRATEFUL and present.

Acknowledge your regrets, learn the lessons and you will get it right next time.

What do you regret?

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