All Articles Tagged "no regrets"
I always hear older people say, “If I could turn back the hands of time…” they wouldn’t have done this or they would have said that. They would’ve made sure that they had built a better foundation when they were young or taken education more seriously. Whatever the case, there’s always something from their past that they wish they would have handled differently.
When I was younger, I always wondered why they said those things. I was pretty much a happy kid with no real worries, living the life, so I had no clue why adults always seemed so regretful about their pasts. It wasn’t until I gained a few years in wisdom and experience that I realized what they were talking about. It was then that I finally understood.
My list of wishful do-overs is pretty sizeable, from my college choice to relationship decisions. Sometimes I sit and think to myself, “Man, you really messed up on that one!” Or “Moms was right when she tried to warn me about that.” But just like every other human on the planet, I understand that I’m not perfect. I’ve made mistakes and will make plenty more, but I’m now learning to live with those not-so-good choices and grow from them.
Often times, people are so consumed with “could’ve, should’ve, would’ves” that they forget to move on. You know, the ones who sit around and dwell on the past almost every day of their lives. People who always want to lecture you about how they screwed up and how they desperately wish they could change things around. What they don’t realize is everything that we do, every bad decision that we make, is meant to be a learning experience. If we don’t go through those mishaps, then we remain void of wisdom and are unable to teach those around us how to stray away from the bad choices we’ve made. When we live in the past, we remain stagnant, become depressed, and lose the potential to correct our wrongs and brighten our futures.
I’ve seen this happen with so many people. From fathers who remain absent in their children’s lives out of shame of being non-existent in the past, to mothers who regret having kids by a certain man and end up taking their frustrations out on the children. I know I’m not the only one who’s familiar with those types. Or the kind of people who are so ashamed of errors that they’ve made that they run away from any and everything that reminds them of those problems. They run and they dodge instead of facing those faults, coming to terms with them and making amends. And this is an even bigger mistake than that ones that they’re hiding from.
It isn’t always easy, but learning to live with regrets makes life much easier. We’ve all done things that we aren’t proud of no matter how big or small. But you can’t let those missteps consume you. Constantly thinking about how things could’ve been and what you should not have done will only diminish your spirit and gnaw at your mental and emotional health. Let it go. If you need to, ask for forgiveness, pray to God for strength. Change your thinking. Be a better, smarter you. And please, learn to live your life.
In Finding the Right Path for You I wrote about my first time learning how to ride a bike. I had a bad habit of looking behind myself to see if my father was still holding on to the back. My habit was so bad that my aunt told me that Medusa was behind me (I was really big in Greek Mythology at the time… which is still going on now…) and if I were to look behind me I would turn into stone. However, that made me want to look back even more. Finally, I’m riding, my father let’s go, the wind is blowing through my hair, and for some reason, I look behind myself. Before I could comprehend the cries of: ”LOOK OUT!” I run right into my father’s car.
Now, that would have been fine if I learned my lesson and that was the last time that it happened, but it wasn’t. By looking behind me while riding my bike with my sisters and friends I have successfully crashed into glass doors, people’s pets, and other people. But, the crash that made me finally decide to start looking forward was when I was riding my bike with my two older sisters, and I was in front. Afraid that I was being left out of the loop I looked behind, and before I knew it I was catapulted from my bike. After landing and skidding for what seemed like twenty minutes (though it was only like… five seconds), I got up to find that someone parked their car at the base of someone’s driveway, so their car’s butt was sticking out and that’s what I hit. I had large scrapes over my body that were filled up with dirt, rocks, and other street nitty gritty, my clothes were torn, and I had an inability to ride my bike. Even though I couldn’t ride, I hightailed it out of there before the owner of the car could see the large dent I caused. (I limped away from the scene of the crime like I was on the Olympic limping team. I definitely would have won the gold that day!)
Now, you might not be a bike rider, but anytime that you spend too much time looking behind yourself while you’re trying to move forward, you risk the danger of hurting yourself or someone else. Your past is there as a learning tool to help shape your future. But when you spend too much time looking back, that’s when you put yourself in “danger” by repeating the same mistakes over or by keeping yourself immobilized by not progressing. I realized that every time I looked behind myself was the moment that I would hurt myself.
After a while I realized that my fear was that I was going to be left behind, or left out of something fun. But that crash is what led me to being left out and being left behind. I had to wait until I fully healed before heading back out on my bike, while my sisters were cruising on their ten speeds.
The same principle is true now. If you spend too much time obsessing over your past, you’re going to miss out on opportunities that are happening right now. Too busy thinking about that ex who cheated on you three years ago? What about that cute tenderoni who’s showing you interest now, or did you not notice? Are you stressing about that old frenemey who did you bogus? What about the person who’s showing you unconditional love and friendship now? Still talking about that crazy boss you had? Can you still talk about that old boss while putting in job applications, please?
I’m not saying to ignore your past, but instead of obsessing over it, learn from it. Take a glance, not a step back, because honestly, there are things you can crash into everywhere!
Kendra Koger has been avoiding parked cars since 1992. Follow her on twitter @kkoger.
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