How I’m Processing and Eliminating Regret From My Life.
Regret? We all have a few. Some are small regrets like “I wish I didn’t eat that extra slice of pizza (said no-one ever but ok), and some are deeply engrained in our consciousness; impacting the rest of our lives and hindering our ability to grow as individuals. That escalated quickly I know. But it’s true. I’m here to talk about the latter.
Unfortunately, I already have a large handful of regrets that stay somewhat dormant in my day to day life but creep up on me around 2am when I’m trying to get back to sleep. Actually no, that’s not true. They don’t just creep up on me at night, they creep up on me a lot more often than that, at random points throughout my day with no warning.
Rather than the regret that I have being the issue, I think the problem that I have is not coming to terms with the things I wish I had done and moving forward. I’ve spent countless hours mulling over the things I wish I had done differently, reimagining the scenarios and redoing them in my head instead of living in the present. I did all this instead of accepting the past for what it is. The past. Gifting myself closure. So here I am. Doing just that.
One of my biggest regrets is allowing my insecurities to limit my life experiences.
For most of my life I’ve been wildly insecure. Insecure about my body image, my face, being black (blog post coming up on that last one soon) and I allowed that to stop me from having, what I would describe as, a fun youth. I had fun yes, but it was always clouded with anxiety, self doubt, and comparison. I was outgoing yes , but never fully present. Most of the time was spent in my head. Which is probably why I don’t remember certain events. I’d be at a party and instead of fully enjoying myself and letting go, I’d be thinking of something negative. Didn’t wear the clothes I wanted to wear because I didn’t think they’d look good. I didn’t audition for the school plays that I wanted to be in because again, I thought I wasn’t worthy or attractive enough to be in them. The guy I liked liked me back? “lies, why would he, I’m ugly”
….if I had a pound every time I held back doing something because of my low self worth, well, darling I’d be rich by now.
Those were all really negative and damaging thoughts, which I do regret, but what’s more damaging is reliving them every day and beating myself up about the fact that I had those thoughts in the first place. These new thoughts are doing the exact same thing that the old thoughts did. Taking me out of the present, and stopping me from moving forward and making new experiences. It’s just building new layers of regret on top of preexisting ones. Like a trifle of negative thinking and dwelling on the past. You know that Thanksgiving trifle that Rachel made in F.R.I.E.N.D.S.? The one with the jam, lady fingers and a layer of beef sautéed with peas and onions? Yeh. I’d take that over my trifle of regret any day.
So, now that I’ve loosely explained this lingering regret. What am I going to do about it?
A) Keep thinking about all the individual situations and circumstances that I allowed myself to miss out on due to my insecurities and beat myself up about it.
B) Accept that I had a different life experience due to something that I cannot control and move the heck on.
Finally I’m choosing B. I didn’t have the life that I had imagined and that’s fine. It is what it is. I wasn’t a confident person and I let that limit me, but living in my head is not going to help. Reliving that party and willing myself to dance when everyone else was isn’t going to change anything. I can’t go back in the past and neither can you.
Granted, this post was very specific to my regret but I’m using it as an example of one of the many regrets that has held me back in life. A lot of you are probably still plagued by things you did or didn’t do in the past but it’s time to move on. You are not the person you were all those years ago. You are not your past. So please try and be kinder to yourself and allow yourself to move on. Be brave. Try new things. That’s what I’m going to do. I have learnt from my past, and I will use it to better myself rather than holding myself back.
I’ll leave you with this serenity prayer/quote. (If you don’t believe in God that’s fine, just take it for what is is)
What are some of your regrets? How are you dealing with them?