“Regret is the only wound the soul does not recover from.” (Sarah Ban Breathnach)
It is said that living with regrets isn’t healthy for any individual’s spiritual growth, yet many of us still harbor one or more of them for days, weeks, months, years, and sometimes even a lifetime. I’ve been guilty of living with regrets, especially on days when I find myself wallowing in self-pity and pain.
Regret is defined as a feeling of sadness or disappointment about something a person has or has not done in life, which is something I most definitely have grappled with. Over the years, I’ve found myself struggling with regret for all the addictions I succumbed to and the plenty of harm they caused others including myself, for all the friends I’ve lost due to the many selfish actions that came out of an addiction-laden life, for all those I could have had a relationship with but never invested or devoted enough loving time to, for all the business ventures I pursued that led to one financial loss after another, for all those negative things I said to my parents, especially during my final conversations with them before they abruptly died, for all the money they left me that I wasted after their deaths on so many needless things, for all the years I could have been working my 12 Step recovery program but opted to be a dry addict instead, for spending my entire college life getting drunk and high and having to live with fuzzy memories and lack of long-lasting bonds because of it, for all the people I sexually chased after who were so unhealthy for me that I allowed to lead me down such dark paths, for the computer career I once had but never felt passionate about that I spent 15 years in solely for the pursuit of money, and for how poorly I treated my sister for most of her life that caused many of the very problems we still have in our connection today.
I’m sure this list could go on and on, but here’s the thing when it comes to each of those regrets. They’re all in the past and I can NEVER change any of them, so it’s completely pointless to keep dwelling on them, because doing so only leads to greater suffering, something I don’t want or need any more of in my life. Equally as important is that each of those things that led to me feeling regret are things that helped me to become a far better person, a far healthier person, a far more caring person, a far kinder person, a far more selfless person, a far more devoted person, a far more loving person, a far more compassionate person, a far wiser person, a far more generous person, and a person I like far more than I ever used to.
The way I see it, instead of looking at all those things as regrets, maybe it’s better I see them as lessons learned. Maybe each of those things needed to happen exactly as they did for me to become the person I am now who’s full of heart and truly does his best to see the good in everyone, including myself. And maybe I just need to consciously choose now to live in acceptance of all of my past actions, knowing that doing so will lead to greater self-compassion and greater self-love. Because the greater I cultivate self-compassion and self-love, the lesser the chance I’ll find myself living with any regrets…
Dear God, I pray to live a life without regret over any of my past actions, just awareness of lessons learned and the wisdom of how to proceed forward with greater understanding and love for myself.
Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson