“Of all the words of mice and men, the saddest are, ‘It might have been’.– Kurt Vonnegut
Over the past few months, one major feeling I have struggled greatly with has been regret; all-encompassing regret. In 2017, I had a choice to make, and I went against the advice I received to follow what seemed to catch my fancy at that time. As a result of that decision, I lost three, maybe four years of my education. It has felt like watching life pass me by, seeing others make progress while it has seemed to me like I remained on the same spot, struggling to take the smallest of steps. How do you forgive yourself for wasting four years of your life?
More often than not, regret has found its place right in the middle of my latent thoughts, hovering at the edge of my conscious musings. Anger has been the worst of these feelings – anger at what life has become, and the tears that have come from being fraught with disappointment.
That anger led to a form of lethargy, an unwillingness to get up or take any action while I lay in bed hating myself for being so unproductive. When I have managed to get things done, staying consistent has been an even tougher struggle. In retrospect, it’s quite a shock to me how all of these emotions blossomed from regret and affected me so deeply.
I consider myself a quite logical person, but emotions really can trump logic at certain times. I understood perfectly well that sulking, wallowing in self-pity, and shedding the occasional tear would do nothing to help my situation, yet I could not bring myself to do anything but that.
So, how do you deal with regret? I haven’t the slightest idea, really. I once saw a tweet from a motivational speaker that said “No motivation today, if you like, give up.”, and that really is the energy of this writeup.
I have read too many articles on how to deal with regret and find the verve to shake off inertia, but in all honesty, that motivation, or “aspire to Maguire” as I like to call it, has done very little for me. So don’t scroll down expecting to find a list of points on how to deal with regret and break out of your ennui. This is merely me sharing my experience and sentiments, and if you have an experience as well I’d love to hear about it in the comments.
2 thoughts on “The “Had I knowns””
I think it’s good we take time to grieve over our mistakes. The notion that people should just move on after a heavy set back is not realistic for me. It gets better after while.
People who over think things tend to over analyze their mistakes and as such remain in that state of continual regret …. the worst part is still being stuck in the past, while time passes me, so although it’s a struggle, i rise and fall daily. I try to move from that stagnancy of regret. It has happened, there’s nothing I can do about it. It hurts yes, it affects my progress most days true. Other times we need others to pull us out, through prayers and words of encouragement.
A bible verse that has helped me forgive myself for the mistakes I made is 1john 3:20 for if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart and knoweth all things.
This has brought my heart more peace than any article I’ve read on how to deal with regrets.
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Thank you so much, Tamdi.
I agree with you on the fact that instantly moving on from a setback sweeps the regret under the rug and lets it fester rather than solving the problem.
I’ll make it a point to try your method. Still we rise! 🤍