About that regret

If you’re remotely like me, you have fleeting pangs of regret. They come in stages–when life seems so strange; perhaps unfair. And if you’re anything like me, you use various skills to look for telltale signs of your past coming back to test you. It’s those revelatory signals, you hope, will make every moment you’ve lived begin to make perfect sense. At the very least anyway, something about your life starts to line up.

Today, sitting at a roundtable with other people, a woman rushes in, greeting us with the fact that she had trouble finding parking. Out of breath, she started with parking being a “nightmare,” but because she’d hit a cat while backing out of her apartment building parking stall, that put every obstacle in motion.

Sometime later, when we began to wrap things up, Carolina revealed to us in a candid voice that her luck was at its worst since relocating to L.A. from New Jersey; and yes, Carolina is an actress. “Nothing is going right for me here,” she shared with frustration. “I met this guy . . . He turned out to be a jerk!” Following her very open discussion about her relationship with “the jerk!,” Carolina then began to expose some of her–as she put it–“lifelong screw ups.” Once we’d finished our project, each of us at the table began to disclose a few of our if-only-I’d known-better stories.

One fate-filled day I came to accept that our past can distort the way in which we see our present. Regret can be tenacious, and more often than not misrepresents the past. The women I spent the afternoon with, as well as myself, recognize that regret will only keep us stuck. Regret naturally kicks in when we loathe how our life looks; what it feels like. Especially when we do the comparison thing, not taking into consideration that the ones we compare ourselves to are also human, and they too compare themselves to others.

Our past has led us to where we are in this very precious instant. Every heartbeat allows us the opportunity to choose another path. Likewise, to see life, and our own story lines, anew.

More often than not we are clueless about having moved past a lingering regret, because the process is quite discreet. What we’re wrestling with is less about our past. We merely assume our past–which has led us to regret–has constructed a present we didn’t purposely choose. We have free will. Most–all of us, really–exercise free will all the time.

The problem I’ve faced is that having a choice and activating that free will is like walking in the dark without a flashlight to give me a heads up to what I’m about to face. So this is when faith is supposed to kick in. I am fully aware that one moment in time can never ruin every other moment; not unless our ego keeps the lie alive.

I cannot count the amount of time I’ve spent existing in the present and living in my past. Attempting to track every other past decision that has led me here. We often regret segments of our past because back-in-the-day life choices haven’t matched up to what we wanted our life to look like.

Holding onto a past that’s impossible to change leads to depriving ourselves of feeling joy, and contentment. And as a result, life tends to feel like hard labor. Yet, from a “universe” standpoint, each one of us is exactly where we should be. Which is why any feelings of regret are so redundant even when they are quite poignant. By regretting any past life choices, we fail to honor the lessons that only our past–or regrets–can teach us, especially about ourselves.

Perhaps what sticks with us is the quality of how we chose. Even when we believe that we’ve pinpointed the time in our lives that caused us to feel less fulfilled, we can never know what specific choices have led us to experience regret. How can we? We choose every single day based upon multitudinous reasons. And choices impact the path. They determine what our future will look like.

In what way could we have chosen otherwise based on who and where we were at that moment in time? The choices weren’t premeditated–made with the intention of ruining or limiting our future. We can never know what choices have elevated us, or set us back. So, it’s in our best interest to trust that our journey is aligned with our life’s blueprint.

Letting ourselves off the hook for what we perceive as poor judgment isn’t a simple task. Still and yet, each of us who is blessed to exude a unique energy on this planet owes it to ourselves to bow to whatever the road has been and continues to be. And moreover, permit the process to reveal to us that which is most favorable to our highest good.

 

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