Some say that we should only regret the chances we didn’t take. It’s one of those concepts we take for granted, but I want to challenge it for a moment; where is the self love in this statement?
Is it right for us to regret anything at all?
When I was 17 I left full time horticultural college looking to go on to study my diploma. I visited a few colleges and talked with my parents about my future. The more we talked the more I realised I simply wasn’t ready to leave home. As a shy introverted HSP moving away from home to go to college was simply impossible. We scrapped the idea of me going to college planned to get a job with the qualifications I had. Unfortunately it was 1992 and jobs were scarce and I became unemployed and didn’t find a job until nearly a year later.
5 years down the line I could have looked back at my past and regretted my choices. I was working in a dead end job at a garden centre earning a rubbish wage. I could have been really cross with myself for missing out on the experience of going to residential college, for being weak, for not furthering my education. There were so many reasons I could have used regret as a stick to beat myself with.
10 years after making that choice I was happy in an admin job earning twice what I could have earned if I had followed my dream of working in a plant nursery. I also was warm and dry, something else I wouldn’t have got working with plants. And yet the meme at the top suggests I should still regret the chances I didn’t take. Does that feel true now?
Looking at it from another angle there are those that say that the fear of regret is what pushes us to broaden our horizons. Is fear really a good and enlightened motivator? It’s an easy motivator; it’s so easy to say “if you don’t do this you will regret it” but if we are looking to love ourselves more I think it is lazy.
Personally I would rather use a desire to grow or experience new things rather than a fear of regret to motivate me to take chances. These motives are heart centred and lead to better experiences. Rather than grudgingly doing something solely because you fear what will happen if you don’t you are actively making choices based on what you actually want.
When we make choices we can only base them on where and who we are in that moment. They say hindsight is 20/20 but in this case I disagree; we forget the fears we faced and stop loving ourselves. From that place we then berate ourselves for failing.
Personally I am for not regretting anything I have done or not done. When you made that choice it was all you could do in that moment, and that is perfect.