Popular wisdom says regretting anything is a waste of time. It says smart, strong, forward thinking women shouldn’t have any regrets. Having regrets means wasting time and energy on something that happened in the past, when time would be best served focusing on the future.
The dictionary defines regret as: to feel sorry, disappointed, or distressed about; to remember with a feeling of loss or sorrow; to mourn. So the question is, if you never regret anything, what stops you from making the same mistakes over and over again? Isn’t regretting that bad choice or misguided decision the very thing that allows you to do things differently in the future?
We’re not talking about dwelling on our mistakes or living a life of “shoulda, couda, wouda.” What we’re talking about is allowing ourselves to occasionally feel that sense of disappointment or discomfort that serves to remind us that we don’t ever want to go down that road again.
My personal list of regrets aren’t that long. I regret not studying what I wanted to in college. But that serves as a motivator for me today to do some of the things I once only dreamed of doing. And when I think back over certain relationships, the involuntary shudder that runs through me reminds me “never again, never again, never again.”
It’s easy to latch on to popular mantras about what we should and shouldn’t be doing, especially at 40. A couple of weeks ago, in the post “More things it took us 40 years to learn”, Rachel wrote, “Time does NOT heal all wounds, but…some wounds are meant to serve as a reminder.” It’s the first time I really sat and thought about that old mantra, “time heals all wounds.” Maybe it’s time to rethink what we think. What if for some of us, regrets, instead of keeping us in the past, remind us of the person we want to be today, and in the future?
What are your thoughts on regrets? Waste of time, or building blocks for the future? What popular wisdom have you been questioning lately? Share your thoughts in the comment section or on our Facebook fan page.