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July 28, 2011 / windlessly

Regret

Dealing with regret is always hard. It’s a particular type of pain where you’re frustrated with yourself but also mad at the world, while at the same time  trying to overcome the grief of what has happened and wondering about what could have been. It can be about small things or huge life-changing events. It can be overcome quickly, or it can stay with you for your whole life. It’s something I’m truly afraid of having during my life.

But it can come to you in all different ways. Me regretting the fact that I haven’t posted here in a while, breaking my streak of daily posts for a while. Or that feeling of regret you get when you wake up after a nap you never meant to take, only to feel groggy and worse than before. Regret can come as a text you sent that was misunderstood by the receiver. Or the argument you had with a friend when really you were just mad at something else. Or an opportunity that you happened to act upon too late.

The reason regret is so devastating is that it’s a self-feeding cycle. And all of it is inside your mind. You feel down about something that went wrong and brood over what you should have done or said. As a result, your actions today may lead to worse consequences, which leads to more regret about today. And so on.

The best cure for this is to realize that you’re suffering from regret. There’s certain reassurance to be had when you just say to yourself, “What’s done is done. There’s no changing the past.” Because there isn’t. As of today, it is physically impossible to go back in time, so why bother thinking about what could have happened? The actions in the past become irrelevant because they can’t be changed. So just focus on the present and future, making the best of what you have. Banish any negative thoughts and just forget about the mistakes you did, because they no longer matter when you think about your day in a very objective manner. You are in location A, with circumstances B and responsibilities C. To heck with how you got there- now you must deal with what you have. And once you accept that fact, you’ll be able to act with a clearer mind.

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