It’s not often that you are just reading an article on Psychology Today and happen to get an idea for a post. But such is my predicament today.,
Never mind how I got there, which in truth would be as good a story. The article was based on and titled after the old Frank Sinatra hit, “I did it my way”. A classic.
The pertinent lyrics are “Regrets? I’ve had a few.” A well-worn familiar line. The obvious point is people usually have some regrets, or more aptly living with them.
Here’s an excerpt:
“Given that not many of us “always do right,” why not concentrate on getting rid of regrets we may already have, and forget about resolving to do differently in the future? Sounds good, but in my experience such a thing is easier said than done. Maybe the only real way to get rid of regret is to go back and correct what we did wrong in the first place. …./
Of course there is no guarantee that a second chance, even if we could get one, would not also be wasted. Human nature being what it is, how likely are we to make the same mistakes over and over again? With age, so they say, comes wisdom. Hindsight is 20/20, and all that. – Psychology Today “
This got me thinking about living with regrets. I’d be lying if I said I had none. But as far as erasing them, isn’t that the fool’s gold? Try as we must, unless one is stone cold without conscience, everyone has some regrets lurking here and there. Charlie Daniels explained about do-overs that he concluded he would not change or redo most things, since it could also change the outcome which he is happy with. There you go, one thoughtful approach.
However, lacking a major success like that, it might be hard for some to give the same answer. Some people might like to change the present situation they find ourselves in, if they could. So a change/redo may sound appealing that could repeal their outcome. The “if only(s)” — if only we would have done this or that differently, we’d be in a better situation. Many people know that is just fool’s gold, too. Though we can learn a lesson or two from mistakes so we don’t end up in the same place again.
What struck me was: “why not concentrate on getting rid of regrets we may already have, and forget about resolving to do differently in the future?” Eliminating regret can clear the conscience. If we could only get rid of those regrets. And don’t worry about resolving to do differently. Sound like a psychology answer? Don’t worry about it. And if you were not resolving some change, then what is the point or lesson learned? That could lead you down the “we really have no control” road. (Environment rules)
Regret is real, it can get you down and eat you up. To claim you really have no regrets seems disingenuous to me. I figure everyone must have them. Or like the article implies, we wouldn’t be human. Failed humans at that.
What to do with and about all those regrets is the problem. We could burn effigies of them, symbolically of course. We can just vow not to repeat them again, contrary to the advice above, as a wiser person. But about the only thing we really cannot do is erase them – not without some psychological damage. And who needs more of that, as if the regrets weren’t enough? Instead, we really have no choice but to live with them. But We don’t have to become a slave to them.
Still, the only thing I know of close to erasing the guilt associated with the regrets is real forgiveness. And there is really only one true source for that. Even after that you still have to learn to forgive yourself, which can be the hardest thing. God can forgive us but we have a hard time forgiving ourselves, especially if we are honest. Guilt is something we carry but have difficulties shedding.
At times, people marvel at someone not having the baggage of guilt. A lack of conscience will also do that. In reality, we know we should feel the guilt but how do we deal with and process it? Again, there seems to be no choice left but to live with it.
The secret to that is the same as seeking forgiveness from God. You can also seek help for dealing with the guilt and regrets. It may not be for Psychology Today to tell you about such an option. Having issues has created a cottage industry for them, and one I think they’d like to keep growing – not end. So it goes on at no one’s expense but ours.
Maybe all the psychological treatments can treat some of the symptoms but they could not completely cure a bad case of regrets. Only God can really do that.
Right Ring | Bullright