On living without regrets

“I don’t do regrets. Regrets are pointless. It’s too late for regrets. You’ve already done it, haven’t you? You’ve lived your life. No point wishing you could change it.”

 Lemmy Kilmister

I’ve been doing a lot of inner work lately. Spending time really digging to the depths of myself, asking questions, seeking out answers, looking at my life, my choices, my behaviours. One thing that really struck me was how much of my life was spent lost in regrets.

Regrets. Control. Depression. Anxiety. They were comrades and danced in circles around each other. One contributing to the other’s strength in a never-ending cycle. I spent so much time regretting what was no more or never had been, I’d feel awful. Feeling awful made me regret the decisions I’d made even more. The worse I felt, the more I tried to control everything in my life, which made me feel worse but I couldn’t work out why.

Hindsight is wonderful, looking back we can see all the things that we think we should have done or that we wished we hadn’t done. We can see times where we made the wrong decisions, and wonder what would be if we’d made the right ones.

The thing is, the place we are at now in life? The person that we are now? That is down to every single choice that we have ever made. To every single thing that we have lived trhough. Good and bad.

When my marriage first ended, I spent so long regretting. Regretting every getting married. Regretting not leaving sooner. Regretting leaving at all. All that did for me though was make me hate myself. Make me more depressed and more anxious and try to cling to control of anything I could.

When I admitted to myself that my relationship with Oren’s Dad wasn’t healthy, that it was abusive, physically and emotionally, I regretted the day that I met him, and the time I had given him, and that I’d let him break down my barriers and hurt me.

The thing is, and they are just two events in my life, two out of hundreds or thousands of decisions made over the years, without those decisions being made exactly as they were I wouldn’t have Oren. And without the thousands of decisions that led to me getting married, I wouldn’t have any of the kids I do.

I wouldn’t be the person I am now – and for all the hardship, I have paid with untold strength, a love for myself that was hard won, a peace of mind I wouldn’t change for the world, and a content-ness with my life that is invaluable.

Living with regret gets you nowhere. What has been, is as it is. We cannot change the past. Rather than regret, look for lessons learned, experience gained, strength built. Take ownership of all the decisions that you have made, knowing that they have brought you to exactly the place you are supposed to be, made you into the person that you are supposed to be.

Regrets keep you tied in the past, living in a constant state of ‘what if?’ – not a healthy state of mind to remain in. Instead, let the past go, embrace your life as a whole, live right here and now, looking back at the past with a sense of peace that it was as it should be, and forward to the future with a sense of hopefulness.

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