Do I have regrets? Yes. But most of them I am pleased about. I have come to consider regret as a healthy sign that your conscience is working. So, when I have made a mistake, and I feel regret, well, that is the way I ought to feel. That regret helps me to avoid repeating that mistake. That sense of regret is evidence that I want to be a good person. I also believe in a sense of ownership or self-responsibility. I have made it my habit at work to hold my hands up and say, “that was my fault”, and I know it has won a lot of respect that I can do that from both my seniors and the team who I manage. But I make sure that whilst I am ready to admit my mistake, I use it as an opportunity to move forward.
Of course when it comes to a few of my regrets, I do sincerely wish they had never ever happened. There have been a few experiences in my life that I wish it were possible to erase, because they and their consequences have tormented me. Some I still find too hard to write about. One that I have mentioned on this blog was becoming involved with Greg. I deeply regret that I allowed someone else to treat me like a toy. Oddly, I see some women aspiring to being treated like a toy. Perhaps when they have a nervous break down their partner will make a little more time for them than Greg did for me. I still find it hard to write about.
Je regrette profondément d’avoir cédé à la faiblesse. Greg m’a utilisé. Il m’a utilisé pour satisfaire sa propre convoitise. Greg ne se souciait pas de moi.
It’s easier in another language.
We are all learning, and we often do learn by taking the wrong turn, and need to change our course to get back on track. It actually worries me that some people seem to ignore their conscience, make it harden and callous, and don’t seem capable of feeling any kind of regrets over their actions. A certain police officer who has recently been given a whole-life sentence after his degraded acts perhaps epitomises that. Or that bloke who was arrested last week for a heinous crime he committed around thirty years ago – did you see him joking and making light of it?
Regret is something that we need….as a human race…to keep us veering towards positive qualities that make life more beautiful as we live, work and play together. There is a healthy side to regret that is like clearing weeds to allow beautiful flowers to grow.
Regrets can be healthy, remorse is a sign that your conscience is alive and kicking. I was watching an episode of a detective show starring Ben Miller (I have a bit of a crush on him) the a couple of weeks ago, and the lead character made a statement which totally registered with me. He said, “…our conscience is our foundation, once contaminated it can destroy everything.” For me the conscience is an essential compass that only fools dispense with.
However, there are a few regrets, often connected with traumatic events in our lives and perhaps not due to any fault of our own, that can haunt us in ways that are hard to make sense of. Learning to accept that in some complex cases, that while we may have made mistakes, much of the situation was not our fault, and therefore we should not punish ourselves in an unhealthy way is vital to our emotional health.
Despite this, I think for the most part the feeling of regret is a good thing. If we did not feel regret after we did something wrong….what would the state of this planet be? I want to keep learning from my mistakes, and I hope that we as a human family go on learning and become more beautiful.