Everybody, and I mean EVERYBODY, has regrets. If you don't, then you're quite possibly close to perfect and your life is probably extremely boring. Seriously, we have all done things that we wish we hadn't, and we have all said things that we wish we would have kept to ourselves— can I get an amen? The truth is, we mess up. We're human. It is our human nature to mess up and hit rock bottom. Our mistakes do not define who we are, but teach us to become who we strive to be.
On my first day of fourth grade, my teacher did a little "experiment" to teach the class a valuable lesson on choosing our words wisely. She had a paper plate, a spoon, a toothpick, and a tube of toothpaste. As she began to squeeze the toothpaste onto the paper plate, she asked the class to observe how smoothly the toothpaste squeezed out of the tube. We watched the minty-green-colored toothpaste fall onto the plate as the room filled with silence and confusion. When she finished squeezing out the toothpaste, she asked, "Do you see how easily the toothpaste oozes out of the tube?" We nodded in agreement. She then told us something that I probably won't ever forget. She said, "It is a lot like the way we speak to others. Our words come out quickly and easily." After she got us thinking, she then opened up the package of toothpicks and began attempting to put the toothpaste back into the tube using a toothpick. When doing so she said, "It is very easy to say things but it isn't as easy to take them back."
What I learned on my first day of fourth grade has stuck with me ever since. Have I said things that I wish I could take back since then? Absolutely—I am far from perfect. But, that day, I learned something more than just how to choose my words carefully. I learned that, although sometimes my words come out fast like toothpaste, I still learn a lesson each time that I am trying to act as the toothpick and repair the damage that I have already done.
My mistakes have taught me more than they have hurt me. Each time I do something that is regrettable, I learn from that mistake rather than spend time regretting it. I am in college—I struggle constantly. I struggle in school, in my relationships, and in my faith. Wherever you are currently in life, I am sure that your struggles are similar. Those struggles have brought me farther than I would have ever thought and I am grateful for the times that I have failed. I am grateful that I have hurt others because, now, I won't hurt people in that way again. I am grateful that I have disappointed myself because, now, I won't disappoint myself in the same way ever again. I am grateful that I have messed up because my mess-ups have taught me how to overcome things.
When I have hit rock bottom, I learned more being down than I have ever learned from being at the top. It is when we are acting as the toothpicks in our own lives that we are learning valuable lessons from our mistakes. Being at the bottom is never pointless. Although there is pain and unbelievable doubt, what we experience while we are down will only push us further up.
It is not when we are living perfectly and life is going smoothly that we should be the most thankful. It is when we are hurting that we are learning. Regrets? I don't have any. I have learned a valuable lesson from all of my failures and I do not regret a single one.