on regret

Weaknesses. We all have them. And very often, we don't want the world to see them. So we try - sometimes in vain - to hide them. We are scared to show those weaknesses. What sweet irony that is. That fear often becomes our greatest weakness and more, it's a weakness we don't hide as well as like to think we do.

One weakness that seems to register high on the "fear of showing" category is the notion of regret. It's a pep talk run amok. As children, that fear of failure is present especially when pitted against our peers. So our teachers and elders show us how to accept setbacks and short-comings and learn from them and move on.

As we grow, we often retain those mantras taught to us as children. We tell ourselves that this is learning experience and the next time we find ourselves in a similar position, we will have the mistakes of our past and the lessons learned to guide us. That does not mean, however, that anyone should be fearful of regret. It does not mean that we need to live without it in order to move on.

As adults, it is our responsibility to define the world we are in. It is also our responsibility to understand what certain words and ideas mean. It is our responsibility to know what "regret" is. It is also probably our responsibility to teach our children exactly what "regret" means. They have a book to serve that purpose. The real mantra we should retain is, "look it up".

The fact is that regret is a big part of moving on, something many of people fail to understand or acknowledge. To regret is to feel sorry, to feel remorse. Regret is knowing you did something wrong. Regret is understanding the gravity of your actions and knowing that you don't want to repeat those same mistakes.

Without regret, it means if given the chance, you'd do all those things all over again. You'd say the same things you often wished you could take back. You'd hurt the same people. You'd take yourself, your loved ones and your experiences for granted. Without regret, you cannot and have not learned.

Regret is normal and healthy and nothing to fear. We regret daily. We regret on small scales and on larger ones. Anytime we do something for which we feel bad about, we regret. Anytime we look at what we've done and say, "I shouldn't have done that.", we regret. You can move on and still have regrets. In fact, regret is the first part of moving on and it is the most important part of learning from your mistakes.

We all have regrets. I have many. It's another way of saying, "I'm sorry."

Aren't you sorry? For something? Anything? That, my friend, is exactly what regret is.

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