Today I want to write a post to all of you out there who are either living with regret or living in the past.
I’m here to say stop.
I could stuff this blog post with all the cliches about why you shouldn’t live in the past. How about ‘Life is not a rehearsal’ or ‘We aren’t here for long’. Then there’s that old favourite: ‘What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’ That’s always a good one.
I’m not taking the piss I assure you. I actually love an inspirational quote and one of the quickest, easiest mental health boosts for me when I am feeling flat, is to read inspirational quotes on Pinterest (true story).
The reason I call these quotes a cliche is because well, they are. When you read an article explaining why it’s not healthy to hold onto the past it is littered with the same message. Do you know what? this blog post is not gonna be any different…..(and I’ve no regrets about that).
My thoughts on mistakes are simply this: they’re lessons (another cliche). Everyone makes mistakes and bad decisions no matter how straight laced or perfect they appear to be. The only difference between each person who makes a mistake is how many times we repeat it and how we deal with it.
There are those who will never admit their mistakes, there are those who will continue to make the same mistakes and never learn. There are also those who will blame others for their mistakes. Then there are those who live and learn.
I am the latter.
As an over thinker and a worrier I have regretted a lot of stuff. Even stupid things that other people probably don’t even remember. I have regretted bad decisions, people I’ve hung around with, how I handled certain situations, how I have let people treat me. Lots of stuff. Not anymore though.
Since hitting my thirties I have changed dramatically. How I view myself, life and others has taken a U-turn. I am not the person I was in my twenties. Anyone who knew me at 20, 25, even 29 doesn’t know the person I am now.
Do I still think I have made bad decisions in my past? of course I do! But I don’t regret them because I have learned from them. I have faced them, accepted them and I have learned what I can do better. Those mistakes, along with everything else, have made me the person I am today.
I don’t see those experiences as regrets anymore, just lessons (there’s that cliche again). I have dealt with a lot of emotions I had when I was younger which have helped me figure out why I could feel the way I did and that too has helped me accept past decisions and learn from them.
My insecurities influenced a lot of my thinking which means sometimes the decisions I made were bad ones. I also had shitty friendships with people who didn’t treat me well and didn’t know how to properly deal with my emotions.
Do I regret any of this though? Nope. Even the things that give me a pang of guilt right in the heart when I think of them. (I say this like in a past life I was an evil person that perhaps committed crimes or bullied people, that isn’t the case at all, I am just very hard on myself so if I know I could have treated someone better or made an error of judgement I hold onto it for a long time.)
I no longer make bad choices (well not repeat old mistakes anyway, I am still only human!) because I have learned from the consequences. Bad relationships have taught me what qualities are important in a partner and how to appreciate a genuine person when you find them. Bad friendships have made me value both myself and the decent friendships I have.
Living with regret is a waste of time. It just eats you up inside and makes you sad and bitter. Make the mistake, accept it, apologise if you have to then learn from it and move on. That’s how you grow as a person. (Pretty sure there is also some cliche saying out there about how life is just one big lesson that would tie this paragraph up nicely but I CBA to look – not sorry).
This blog post got a little deep didn’t it? but as you might have realised by now (new to my blog or not) I like to get deep. I think it is important to talk about these things because we all experience it and not everyone opens up about it. And I have zero regrets about being the one who does.