There’s really nothing you can do about yesterday. Whatever happened in the past has already happened. You need to own your today. The big question to ask yourself about regrets is ‘will you do today what you did yesterday?’ If not, you shouldn’t allow your present moments to be swamped by past events you really can’t undo.
Regrets suggest a lock-down situation as though you are at an impasse, immobilized and unable to do anything about your present situation because of what has transpired in the past.
If you did something in the past which you are not happy with now, rather than be bogged down with guilt feelings and despair, why not accept responsibility for your actions. Taking responsibility is not a form of sentencing or passing judgment on yourself, it helps you to own your actions and also empowers you to decide what you want to do with the experience rather than be immobilized by replaying the events over and over in your mind and not enjoying any form of improvement in real time.
Fears are attached to regrets, the fear of undesirable outcomes. The fear of not knowing how today will play out because of what happened in the past is the nub of regrets. But you can decide ahead what you want to happen. As it is often said, you can’t confront what you don’t face. You need to ask yourself what you are afraid of. Play out the worst case scenario and take charge by deciding how you will respond to it that is if it ever happens. You need to really assess what you think could go wrong with your life if your fears come to reality. Would that really be the end?
It is only when we open our minds and look ahead of us that we can see the so many possibilities before us. When we shut down our minds in fear, we come to a halt. It seems we are trapped by the situation. There’s no situation that is of itself the end of our lives. Even death itself is still not the end of life, this is why suicide is never the way to take care of any issue. However, if we choose to look ahead, it helps us to be well positioned psychologically to handle whatever may come our way.
In some other cases, some regrets can be avoided altogether if you decide to take the right steps to correct a long-standing situation. Rather than play avoidance, why not channel your energy to do the needful by making amendments where possible. Why do you keep saying ‘I wish, I wish I wish..’ when you can clearly say ‘I will, I will, I will’?
Everyone has regrets because no one is perfect, we all wish there are things we never did or said however not everyone is handicapped by these life slips. Most of the time, when we look back at some of the things we have regrets over, they were done with good intentions. We must have believed it was the right thing to do at that time. And so with the benefit of hindsight, we can choose to make adjustments where necessary today. If we chose to be humble, we will own up to our flaws and then proceed with the appropriate action.
A simple statement to yourself and to others such as ‘I thought I was doing the right thing but now I know better, I’m sorry’ can melt away built up pressure and restore your peace. It is okay to make mistakes but it is not okay to refuse to make corrections where applicable.
And may I add, when you make the effort of trying to make things right and things don’t go the way you had hoped, you can rest your mind knowing that you have done what is right. You can’t always control factors beyond you and so you need to take that into consideration. This is very important so that you can have some closure on these troubling issues.
On another hand, some of us are not bothered about what we did but about what others did or said to us that we permitted. If we keep mulling over these events, they won’t take us forward in life. We need to know how to put things in their right place. Whatever others do, they are responsible for. If we consented actively or passively to these events, we need to admit our error and if necessary offer apologies to whoever we believe might have been affected by the events if it makes sense to do so.
It is not in all situations that restitution is feasible and practical. Some graves are better left undug. If it will cause more harm to the people involved if you revisit the issue, accept responsibility then let it rest between you and God. The important thing is to own up to your faults and adopt a new, more wholesome and productive stance concerning the matter.
We must never forget the fact that life is not a smooth road for anyone. As long as you are human, you are going to do things you will not be happy about. The wise thing to do is to learn from them. It is only when we want to be invincible and infallible that our pride gets wounded and fears of our humanness get us shaken. Otherwise, we should know that even those whom we fear will ridicule us are not in any way better than us. So look back only to make amendments, draw lessons and keep moving forward because life is a very big class where we keep learning.
Regrets really serve no useful purpose. If we have learnt lessons, then we become wiser. But brooding over past events won’t make yesterday or today better.