Do you regret not going to that party? No point. It’s over and few probably remember it. Do you regret going to that party? No point. You went. It happened, and you gained an experience. Doesn’t matter if it was good or bad, you gained an experience. Either way, regret is a pointless feeling. We all feel it, but there is no point to it, is there? All it does is make us feel crummy and spend our precious present thinking about the what-ifs, planning out scenarios for a past we can’t change. Also, if you were actually able to go back to a moment you wish you could change, you would probably make the same choice, because that is how you were feeling in the moment, not knowing or caring what the consequences might be. We all feel regret, but how can we use it to our advantage?
I always try to suppress my regret, and seldom succeed in doing so. I always think of a decision I made and agonize over how it made others perceive me, or how a different choice could have yielded a better outcome, instead of realizing that that choice is what I felt was best for me at the time. Usually, that choice is a safe one. What I mean is, I usually take the path where I can visualize a probable outcome, instead of the path that I can’t see the end of. Yeah, I’m one of those people. I don’t take many risks, and do you know why? Because I fear regret. But whatever I do, there is always an inkling of regret. I may stand there thinking “Good thing I did that”, but there’s always a subconscious what if… running through my head. Can we fight this subconscious urge? As far as I know (and I don’t really know much) no. For people my age, still learning and still confused, as much as we act like we know what’s going on, it can be really hard.
Honestly, I think that we can use our regret to learn more about ourselves! Maybe is you feel like you regret something, take the time to think about what you regret and ask yourself, why did you make the choice you did? In my own experience, it always reveals something new about myself, or just reinforces something I already knew about myself. If I chose to go for a walk, for example, but I wasn’t looking where I was going and I stepped in a puddle and ruined my shoes, I might feel regret for going on that walk. I think, “Why did I go on this walk”? Well, because I wanted some peace and quiet and I wanted to get a little exercise. It just reinforces aspects of my personality that don’t even remotely reflect the outcome of the walk. However, I’ll just know, for next time, to watch where I’m walking.
If I were to try and solve the impossible problem at hand, I would just have to say that everyone has regret. Maybe it’s not healthy or for the best, but we all have it and nobody is alone in their insecurities. You scratch the surface of anyone and we all have some sort of cross to bear, no matter how big or small. As pointless as regret is, we all have to face it, but we don’t have to let it overtake us because we think it makes us weak or stupid. I try to remember that, even though you can’t always tell by looking, everyone has something going on that they are not sharing. You just have to worry about yourself, and when you feel the regret coming on, you can use it as power instead of a personal weakness, because you have the power to talk yourself down. You can assess why you feel regret, and pinpoint what happened to make you regret it. You can just use the aspect of a situation that made you feel the regret, and try something different next time, if any of this makes any sense. Long story short, we’re all human. Regret isn’t rare and it doesn’t make you stupid or weird. It’s pointless, that is, unless we can choose to learn from it.