Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Rant # 15: Regrets

Regret. Oh how I dislike that word. I hear it from people all the time and it always gives me pause. When someone tells me they regret a choice they made in life, it tells me that they are dwelling on the past. Obviously, they aren't talking about the future. And certainly they aren't regretting the present. They are regretting a choice they once made. Why do that?

Here is an idea I have. Let's say that, at birth, we are each given an open cardboard box. Inside the box are pieces to a jigsaw puzzle. It is our job from birth to death to fit those pieces together in order to reveal a complete picture. Since there is no lid on the box, we have no idea what the picture will look like when all is said and done.

First we go through the jigsaw pieces and pick out all the ones with straight edges. Then we put them together to create the border of our picture. This is our foundation and it's fairly easy to put together. Then it starts getting harder and harder as we search for pieces that fit together to create the rest of the picture.

One by one we pick pieces that seem like they might fit together. Sometimes we pick the right piece immediately. Other times we try piece after piece before finding the one that fits perfectly. Now, do we regret that it took many tries to find that perfect piece to our puzzle? I think not. We have patience with ourselves because we are doing our best. We are trying and, even if we're wrong, we have learned at least which pieces work and which don't. After finding pieces that fit easily we increasingly face the difficulty of finding ways to fit the less obvious pieces together to form our picture.

This may seem to be a fairly simple analogy. Well, it is simple. Why regret something that can't be changed? The logical choice is to forge ahead until you find the right choice. When that right choice comes along you have the experience and knowledge to see more clearly which choice is right for you. You have already put those wrong choices off to the side to be used when the time is right. We all make mistakes but , hopefully we learn from them. Sometimes we have to learn the same lesson over again. This is part of our lifetime education. Do we regret any other kind of formal education? Well you see what I'm getting at, I hope.

When you find yourself using the word regret, you are really saying that you still need to learn to love and forgive yourself. You have to learn this lesson before you can effectively live a life of peace. It comes down to letting go in order to go forward without the impediment of regret.
                                      Peace and Love,



  1. Bill, You are leaving me more and more speechless with each post I read. You are so kind, inspirational and wise. This really brought tears to my eyes (which, okay, I admit I cry at commercials!) :-) This really truly touched me, though. Thank you, Bill. (I'm tweeting this post, by the way).

    caregiving. family. advocacy.

  2. Trish, your compliments overwhelm me. I am not saying anything new. I only hope to remind my readers of things they already know. In this crazy world in which we live, it is easy to get caught up in the negativity of it all. I firmly believe that it doesn't have to be that way.