Dancing with Regret? Read this.
No more dwelling on the past. Let’s do something today that will help us build our tomorrow.
As young adults, we’re constantly making important decisions that will impact our future. Decision after decision we hope we’re making the right ones to avoid feeling regretful, yet doing so is inevitable. Whether it’s the major you chose, dropping out of school, a relationship, friendships, a job, opportunities you turned down, dreams you put on hold, or anything beyond, we are tormented by “What if…”
I get that we have one life to live and we should make the most of it, but dwelling on the choices we made, thinking how different our lives would’ve been if we had done it differently won’t get us anywhere. On the contrary, it leaves us feeling stuck and sorry for ourselves with a sense of defeat and failure as if that’s it, there’s nothing more to do. We need to acknowledge that the level of maturity, knowledge, and life circumstances that we have now may not be the same as when we made those decisions and you can’t punish yourself for it. Besides, we can’t idealize that the outcome of a different choice would've been better, because we won’t know for sure, thus distressing over a fantasy we’re uncertain it might have truly existed.
As cliché as it is, we are exactly where we need to be and everything happens the way it does for a reason. Whether to teach us a lesson, or to welcome something better, to grow, or to build character, nothing happens just because.
We can’t do anything to change our past, but we can do something today to build our future and change our narrative. So, if you have resentment or regret within, allow yourself to feel them, but work to change your perspective. Highlight and appreciate the positive outcomes that did come from past choices, and ask yourself these questions: What do I want to do differently with my life? What do I want to achieve? Who do I want to be? What steps can I take today that can help me get there? Be open to the possibilities without excuses.
You are more than your age, more than a degree and a position at your job; more than how much money you make, the car you drive, the clothes you wear, what you publish on social media, and more than what society expects you to be and do with your life. Don’t compare yourself or your timeline with other’s. Don’t minimize your achievements either. Each journey is unique and we should go at it at our own pace as long as we do something about it. The only way you’ll keep dancing with regret for the rest of your life is if you don't come to terms with the fact that the past is gone and you only have today, because even tomorrow isn’t guaranteed. The choice is yours and yours alone, but change won’t come without action. So, will you keep dancing with regret or will you dance to the rhythm of the beautiful life you want to build?