Regretfully, Yours

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Ok. Let’s talk about regret. That word, that emotion, that whatever which has been the staple of love songs, broken hearts and sleepless nights for millennia. What is it about regret? It’s one of those things you just have to live with and deal with because going back and changing the regretful words, actions or events is not an option. How to live with it is the real challenge.

Once when I was going through a particularly intense bout of regret a good friend reminded me that we should not regret the things we have done, only the things we have not done. That is a loaded statement even though I get the logic. It should be that the only time we express regret is on our deathbed, as in “Gee, I wish I had done that sky diving gig I had always dreamed about doing when I was 20. I regret that now.” But not regretting that we had not taken a chance or had broken a heart (including our own) or missed a loved one’s wedding doesn’t quite feel right either. It is true dealing with regret allows us to grow and evolve and hopefully not repeat the thing we regret doing. But that growth hurts like hell.

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For me, the worst thing about regret is learning something about myself that I don’t like. Was I really that person who did this thing when I intended to do something completely different? Was I really that mean, callous, forgetful, careless, and thoughtless as all that? I never considered that about myself. And then there’s the attempt to overcompensate so that others wouldn’t really think I was mean, callous, forgetful, careless or thoughtless! It’s fruitless. The only thing to be done is to forgive myself, especially if asking forgiveness is not an option (as in the person you have hurt never speaks to you again). And for a ruminative gal like me, forgiveness can take months, years and maybe never.

I read a great quote the other day. It said, “Everyone has a chapter they don’t read out loud”. I believe the things we regret would definitely be written in that chapter. There’s shame attached to regret, whether for things left unsaid or for things that were. A spat with your former best friend that has lasted decades. Those final words of anger to a loved one. A missed opportunity to step up that will never come again. I regret, I regret, I regret.

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One of my favorite songs about regret is Joni Mitchell’s “River”. In the song, she laments that she hurt and lost a good man and wishes she could find a frozen river to skate away and escape from her regret even though now she lives nowhere near a frozen river. As a child of the Great White North, that imagery resonates with me. Strapping on a pair of ice skates and gliding into the peaceful stillness of a frozen river sounds a bit like redemption. But that’s the thing about regret. You carry it with you whether you get to skate away or not.

Alexander Pope famously wrote “to err is human; to forgive, divine” Forgiving yourself for erring (and therefore for being human) can take a lot of work. There is always that reach for the divine forgiveness that may or may not ever come. I am more mindful of the fickle nature of life and trying to be better about telling those I love how I feel about them before the chance to do so is gone forever. But I am finding that my faith in myself is growing stronger as I grow older and I hope I am getting better at avoiding things I will regret. And despite the many things I wish I could change over the past years, I continue to believe that one day there will come a time when I can say, I regret, I regret, I regret….nothing.

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28 Comments Add yours

  1. Barbara McMahon says:

    Ahhh. Joni’s “River” – one of my all time favourites. This is a beautiful piece of writing Tina. Thank you.

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

    Liked by 1 person

    1. mom2times says:

      Thank you, Barb. That song haunts me all the time!

      Like

  2. LA says:

    Good post. I must admit though that I’m in the things I didn’t do I will regret camp. When I was scared to do something I totally regretted it. Though honestly, I regret nothing, because everything I did brought me the amazing daughter that I have. So life plays out as it should I think

    Liked by 1 person

    1. mom2times says:

      Thank you! I’m getting closer to that place although I have so much to be grateful for and don’t regret. There’s freedom in that!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. LA says:

        💗💗

        Like

  3. Dayma says:

    Wow this hit close to home, I used to carry all this pain and regret within me and it was just a burden that would not allow me to move on in life and just keep me sad and unhappy all the time, however I realized that I had to stop regretting all that and like you said forgive myself to finally move on

    Liked by 1 person

    1. mom2times says:

      Thanks, Dayma, it really is a journey and a process. I wish you the best!

      Like

  4. Lou Howitt says:

    “Non, je ne regrette rien” … want this on my niche!!! Edith Piaf said it well. Another good one from you, Bella. Love, Lou xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. mom2times says:

      Thank you, my friend xoxo

      Like

  5. I’ve made some bad choices in life, did I regret making them? No,. I have learnt from them, grown because of them. Thankyou for a great read, an excellent post.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. mom2times says:

      Thank you so much!

      Like

    2. mom2times says:

      Thank you so much for reading and for your feedback!

      Like

  6. Nyxinked says:

    I have to admit that I regret so many things in my life from the course I studied at university to the time I didn’t spend with people I loved. But then, I always think that they have made me a better person, and have taught me to be a better me.

    Thank you for sharing 🙂

    Like

    1. mom2times says:

      I agree. There are so many things I wish I could change but it made me who I am so I am learning to embrace that! Thank you for commenting.

      Like

  7. Great post – I definitely have a lot of regrets! x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. mom2times says:

      Same, Jenny, but I am working on self forgiveness. Thanks for reading xo

      Like

  8. I love that quote about everyone having a chapter they wish to not read out loud, I know I have several! It’s always such an isolating feeling when you have deep regrets and I sometimes feel like I’m the only one who collects a few, this post was a refreshing reminder that we all do. Great post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. mom2times says:

      Thank you so much for the feedback. I often feel like it’s only me too so it’s good to hear from others!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Anneka says:

    A very thought provoking post that’s very well written. The hardest part about regret is that we look on things in our past completely differently to when we’re actually in that moment. I think it’s great that you’re working on self-forgiveness – it’s actually something I have been trying to do in the past few years after a fall out with a close friend. All of this keeps us growing and learning though.

    Anneka @ New Shades of Hippy
    http://www.newshadesofhippy.com

    Liked by 1 person

    1. mom2times says:

      Thanks so much for your feedback! Definitely a growing process.

      Like

    2. I don’t think anyone is the result of a snapshot of their day. You might be callous or careless one moment and kind and considerate another, perhaps to the same person, why should one define you and not the other? I love that quote too, “everyone has a chapter they don’t read aloud.” I hadn’t heard that one before, thank you for sharing it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. mom2times says:

        Thanks, that is so true! I appreciate your insights.

        Like

  10. laurabooksandblogs says:

    I spend so much time trying to avoid regretful behavior to the point where I dissect my actions looking for it. Regret and guilt are definitely intertwined and it was nice to read a piece that perfectly describes how I tend to feel. It makes the feeling more bearable so thanks. ☺

    Liked by 1 person

    1. mom2times says:

      Thank you for reading and for your feedback!

      Like

  11. Allisa White says:

    Beautiful words ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  12. BB&Y says:

    I regret the missed opportunities I didn’t understand that I had. But you never see that until you get a chance to look back with hindsight. Learn from it and move on, life really is to short.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. mom2times says:

      So true! Thank you

      Like

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