Everyone makes decisions that perhaps they wish they hadn’t. Maybe you dated someone who was bad for you, maybe there was a period of your life where you drank too much and ate too little. Maybe you lost yourself, found someone who you’re not, forgot what made you who you were in the first place. Maybe you hurt your friends for selfish reasons. Maybe you broke a heart (yours or someone else’s.) And maybe, these things haunt you.
I’m here to say – LET THEM.
But only if you didn’t grow because of them.
There’s a perception that if you live with no regrets, if you don’t look back and wish there were things that you could change, that you’ll be happier, you won’t be as stressed out, you’ll feel free. People think that holding onto what you’ve done will make you bitter, will force you to live in the past.
But here’s the catch:
Think about these things that you are ashamed of, consider what has happened as a consequence of them, and wonder who you’d be now if they hadn’t happened. Think of the bad relationship. Did you learn that there are certain qualities in that person that you can’t have in your life? Did you become stronger, more serious in your convictions, more resolute in your self-worth? Good, then this is not something you need to regret.
If you look back on something that happened in your life and find that you did not grow - that whatever happened made you regress, ceased your progress as a person, broke your heart in a way that has left it yet to be repaired - you are under no obligation to be okay with it. You don’t have to let it go, act as if it didn’t hurt you. Let it remind you, let it guide you. Let it fuel the fire with which you become determined to never let it happen again.
Don't doom yourself to repeating your own, hurtful history. Be aware of your shortcomings and appreciate the evolution it has taken for you to get to where you are now. I am by no means recommending you cling to your regrets as reasons to not try again for fear of the outcome, or use them as reasons to hate yourself, or hold onto them so tightly you forget that they don't have to happen again.
I am merely saying, don't regret the boyfriend who made you raise your standards, regret the one who made you lower them.
Don't regret the ending of friendships you learned from, regret the ones who took things from you that you're still working to get back.
Don't regret the process, regret the decision that halted your progress.