Regrets


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Regrets are an odd thing, because people end up regretting a lot of things in their life and then they often end up regretting all the time they spent regretting. Go figure. I deal with regret like everyone else, and I’ve processed a lot of it very recently.

For context: my laptop hard drive recently crashed for unknown reasons, and I lost a 60,000 word novel I’d recently written (among other things.) As any fellow writer will know, this is pure devastation anyway, but that particular book was very personal and meant to be written only once. I’ve really regretted loosing that book.

However, through the last two weeks I’ve worked through the emotion called regret and I want to share how I handled it with you today.

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And of course before I move forward I want to say this: feeling regret is not a bad thing.

Regret is a legitimate emotion that signals to your soul that there is something to be mourned, forgiven, learned from and released as best you can. Everyone deals with regret in their own time and way; so it’s important to know that the emotion itself is not bad. Now, choosing to live in regret for weeks, months, or years is when regret becomes bad. 

How I Deal With Regret

Mourn your losses. I’ve learned that when I feel regret, or any type of sadness, to not smother the feeling. I don’t think causing humongous scenes wherever you go is good, but with family or friends, it’s okay to talk out your sadness and cry if you can. Crying allows the negative emotion of anxiety to escape the body and soul–it’s natural, it’s cleansing, and it’s healthy.

The evening I was told my hard drive was gone, I cried for hours in my room and was very sad for the rest of the night; the guilt and pain dwindled by morning enough for me to work like normal. I don’t care what type of regrets you have–relationships, words, preventable issues or things that weren’t even your fault–if you lose something, mourn it until you feel some relief.

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Forgive yourself. Make room for mistakes in your life by forgiving yourself (or whomever might need to be forgiven, if you have regrets over a broken relationship of any sort.) I was still very mad at myself for not backing up my work, or emailing it to my sister, even after all my crying. After several days of frustration, I finally said, “That was a mistake on my part, that I now recognize and can fix.”

If I can’t make room for mistakes in my life, how will I ever grow as a person?

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You can’t change the past. I believe God uses “cause and effect” to guide lives to touch other lives that touch other lives in ways we don’t even understand. Things happen for a reason and things happen in the past, where we can’t touch them. What happened, has happened; now I gotta deal with it. Look at it however you want, but regretting the past does not fix the problem, or the heartache, or make you feel better.

Loosing my book was devastating and agonizing but it happened. Am I now going to just sit here and be resentful? What good would that do me to regret something that can’t be reversed? From what I see, this where a lot of people get stuck; they want to change what can’t be undone, while neglecting the future. That’s very sad and it’s a cycle that will continue unless one faces the front again.

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Don’t live in regret, but do learn from it. The thing about the past is that it’s what you do in the present. So, take regret as signal that something went wrong last time and learn from it. You messed up in that relationship by doing this and such. Well, now you know what not to do now. You should have turned left instead of right. Well, now you know what to do now. I lost my book because I was not proactive and should have saved it on a USB and a secondary hard drive. Well, now I know what to do now.

We need to stop looking out the back window and face the oncoming road. Grip that steering wheel with both hands.

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Try to find positives; the “if it hadn’t”s. Finding the good in the bad is the key putting regret to sleep–this ties in a bit with the point I made just above. Sometimes its really hard to look at regrets and find positive things, but they’re always at least one. If you can’t find one, that means it’s coming. You will see it one day.

I should have saved my story as soon as it was finished but now I know I should do that from now on: a positive thing! Thank God the laptop was under warranty; a positive. Most of my stuff was saved; a positive. Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

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This is not a cure-all, “gone forever” way for getting rid of Mr. Regret, sadly. I’ve gotten through these steps personally, and I still feel regret over my story, in small ways, every once and while. But if we forgot our regrets, we would simply make the same mistake over and over.

Besides, there will always be something to regret in our lives. We are humans who make mistakes, after all. Once we figure out one area of life, another area will soon fall apart and we’ll have to deal with that problem. Again.

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But please, don’t live in regret forever. You don’t want to regret that either.

~Jamie

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9 thoughts on “Regrets

  1. This was good for me to read, since I’m someone who tends to carry her regrets around like an unwanted piece of luggage I can’t get rid of. I’m still so sorry you lost all that precious writing–but I’ll tell you what, I’ve also been VERY encouraged by all the lessons you’ve shared as a result of that tragedy!

    1. I’m glad it was a good read–regret is such a heavy burdan. I’m glad that my lessons have been helping you too, that makes the tragedy eaiser to deal with–my laptop returned from the depot today and it’s working again! I’m going to have to reset it up though. XD

      ~Jamie

  2. This was very mature of you, Jamie. wow. I would not have been so positive in your case. lol. seriously. I would have thrown a fit and cried for days and probably would spend forever beating myself up over how stupid I thought I was.
    But you…you’re so mature and I admire that. thank you for sharing what you’ve learned so that we too can learn 🙂 its awesome that you were able to take a really sucky situation and grow from it.
    I pray too that you wont live in regret forever.
    anyhow, you’re awesome. Im so sorry for your loss:(

    1. Thank you Faith; it felt so awful, my stomach ached for days and I nearly had a panic attack. I even wrote a letter to my main character profusely apologizing for erasing his life. 😦 But then it felt better to just accept what had happened rather than dwell on it. Your comment made me smile and the condolences really help!

      Love you, girl! 🙂

  3. This was so beautifully written! You are very wise.

    I’ve been facing regret lately over an old relationship. Things fell apart and I made some very big mistakes. I’m trying to work up the courage to make things right again but my regret has been holding me back. I’m just afraid I will mess things up again. But you’re right, it is better not to let the pain and regret of the past hold you down. I learned so much from how that relationship went and in learning how not to repeat the mistakes I made I have become a better person.

    I am so sorry to hear about your book! 😦 But you’re right, positivity is the best attitude you can have.

    Wonderful post!

    1. Thank you very much, I’m glad I was able to write this effectively and well! 🙂

      Aw, that’s a sad story. 😦 However, I’m glad you were able to learn and grow from the experience–it shows maturity and character that you can see your mistakes and you want to fix them. Hopefully someday you’ll be able to make things right again. 🙂

      Thank you again!!! 😀

      ~Jamie

It always makes my day to see your messages! Don't forget to check back, I try to write back to you too! <3

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