The Difference Between Mistakes and Regret
People are instinctual, rash creatures. We don’t do an awful lot of things that make sense. We act blindly and without reason a lot of the time. We make huge decisions based on fleeting emotional whims, the consequences of which resonate throughout the rest of our lives in long, sometimes painful butterfly effects. We act on our impulses far more than we act on our senses. We do things because they are easy. We avoid things because they are difficult. We do things because it’s the way they’ve always been done, without really thinking about whether or not they are the right thing to do.
There are a handful of people in the human race who are capable of incredible, mind-blowing genius.
Every single person that has ever lived has been capable of incredible, mind-blowing stupidity.
Sometimes, everyone else can see that you’re being dumb. And sometimes even you notice you’re making mistakes before things go too far. But sometimes, it’s not until much, much later on that you realise that you goofed.
Sometimes, once you’ve done something wrong, all you can do is find a way to learn to live with it.
Because if you can’t live with it, regret will plague you forever.
The ability to accept the mistakes you have made, to come to terms with them in your own mind, is one of the most valuable skills a person can learn.
Find a way to learn from every mistake you make. When you realise you’ve done something wrong, try not to wallow in regret and self-pity. Work on fixing what went wrong. Your immediate goal is to remedy the situation. Think about how to reverse what has been messed up, and focus on that.
When you get time, stop and reflect. Think about why you made the mistake. Think about what led you to make that decision that you wish you hadn’t made. Identify the point at which sense and logic failed you. Find the moment when you stopped thinking reasonably and let your foolish gut instinct and emotions take over.
Or, if the case may be, the moment you ignored your smart gut instincts and took a path your soul didn’t want you to.
Try to figure out where you went wrong and remember that. Once you know the mistake you made, you can avoid making it in the future. Once you’ve resolved not to do it again, the problem won’t bother you again.
If you leave a mistake to linger, however – if you let if fester so that it putrefies the good life you’re living around it – it will become a bigger problem than ever.
Remember that a mistake is something you can still learn from. It can still be made positive. You can still take hold of it and tear out a silver lining that you can hold onto for as long as you need it.
Once you let it become a regret, it becomes a poison that will not leave your system. It will hang onto you until you take those steps to making to go away.
The feeling of regretfulness can help you decide to make important decisions in improving your life – it is the emotional response that allows you to tell when you have made a mistake. But it can also drag you into a much worse situation if you let it. It can push you into a much worse depression than any bad choice ever would by itself.
Letting an occasional lapse in judgement haunt you is the worst mistake you can ever make.
Learn from them. And live wisely.