Regrets (the 12th of June, 2013)

Regrets (the 12th of June, 2013)

A Chapter by Erin

In which I share my first reevaluation of a long-held belief. Also, I discuss why regrets can actually be good.


The following was the first long-held belief I reevaluated for my June challenge. While I'm thinking about it, I guess I can provide you with the update that my challenges are going well, thank you very much. Here, let me count the number of words I've written this month (not necessarily from the same idea)...

20, 261 words.

That's a pretty good start. 

Anyway, how I've been doing the long-held belief reevaluation is I've written the belief at the top and then went from there. Needless to say, this means a lot of the beliefs will probably not be suitable for the blog. This either means they are too short, too jumbled, or too personal. 

I guess I'll leave this introduction with the belief I did this one on: "Regrets are a good thing."

I think when people think of regrets, all they can think about is the shame that comes with it. Regret and shame are almost synonymous these days, because regrets are almost always negative. In fact, I can’t think of a positive regret I have ever experienced. That’s probably because there’s no such thing as a positive regret, but I just because I haven’t had that experience doesn’t mean it’s nonexistent.

I could be wrong, but I’m going to safely assume that absolutely everyone has regrets. It’s in our nature to have regrets. Human beings are not perfect; it’s intertwined with our design to make mistakes that lead us down the road of regret.

The entire point of making mistakes is to learn from them. We burn our tongues on hot chocolate so we can learn to be patient so it doesn’t happen again. We get into an accident so we can learn to not speed as much or look at our phones or fiddle with the radio as much. We make mistakes at work so we can learn to get better at our jobs. It would be an ideal world, of course, to not make mistakes and just be perfect, but it comes with the territory and we need to deal with it.

In fact, some employers need to learn to deal with this as well. Some employers demand perfection and when we don’t live up to their expectations (of course), then we are scolded. Am I being scolded for being human? Why is being a human such a bad thing? It makes learning the lesson so much harder, at least for me. I might not learn the lesson out of spite, or because I’m too afraid of the scolding to try again.

I think in this sense, regrets might be a lesson in denial. We are so focused on the shame of those mistakes we made that we cannot move on. Lessons hold the hands of our regrets, and that’s obvious to me. 

In middle and high school, there were a couple of people I didn’t get along with. Actually, I can restate this in a much more truthful manner: There were a couple of people I refused to get along with. For whatever reason, we did not like each other. There might have been a fight, a misunderstanding, a personality clash, etc. It doesn’t even matter what happened; what matters is that we never had a positive relationship in any sense of the word. We didn’t speak to one another. We didn’t talk nicely about the other. We weren’t nice people.

I remember one fight in particular was over text message and we didn’t actually ever speak to one another. That went on for months.

And I regret that fight. I regret all the people I didn’t like for whatever reason. I regret not attempting to figure out what went wrong. I regret not apologizing when it was my fault.

Every. Single. One.

This makes it sound like I’m embarrassed that it happened, and I’m not. I’m kind of ashamed (better word in this sense) that I didn’t take the time to understand what happened and I’m sort of ashamed of not trying to clean up the mess I was partially responsible for. I’m not embarrassed, however.

I have regrets, and there’s a difference, although it might sound like there isn’t a difference.

There’s a difference because I learned the lesson and I moved on. I don’t regret anything about the situation because I’ve picked up the pieces of those mistakes and I refuse to let them bother me. I learned the lesson.

The regrets remain because, of course, I wish I could fix the past and make it better. I wish I could talk to those people and apologize for the way we both acted. We were younger, we were immature, we didn’t understand. Yet I can’t fix the past and I would rather not bring up the past. This is just the way it is.

So yeah, I believe regrets are a good thing. They can remind you of the lessons you have learned. They remind you of what you have fixed, all the progress you have made, and all the maturity you have gained.

The shame is why people have a negative connotation about regrets. I can’t fix this for others. I can’t even fix it for myself sometimes. I still have regrets and shame about certain events. This is another thing that makes us human.

I see this phenomenon a lot more with women. We tend to remember the tiniest of details in semi-important events and then we stress about them. She’ll remember I said those three words, while he’ll remember I borrowed that thing and never returned it. In actuality, she probably doesn’t remember those words (or maybe she does, since she’s a woman as well) while he doesn’t remember you borrowed some sugar because sugar doesn’t matter in the long run.

And this is the big thing about shame: It usually doesn’t matter in the long run. Those words you said, the actions you took, the people you said those words to. Usually, what you did will not affect how your life is lived.

But shame is confusing. It can guide your life if you’re not careful enough. Shame is so overwhelming and powerful. This is why liars are usually revealed; the shame is too much to handle.

I guess I’ll leave it with this: Shame is bad, but regrets are good. 

© 2013 Erin

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Added on June 12, 2013
Last Updated on June 12, 2013
Tags: regrets, good, long, held, belief, reevaluate, true, dat, deep, and, thoughtful



., CO

My name is Erin (well, yes, that is indeed obvious). I'm 19, I'm in college (physics major ALL THE WAYYYYY), and I understand the boredom of all my summers will be upon me for the next 10 years (depen.. more..