I had a blowout with my daughter, Ashley, recently. I allowed anger to take over and I said things to her that I shouldn’t. I failed as a father and I later apologized. We had a productive discussion and aired our differences. We hugged each other and expressed our love for one another and that was that.
Later, I sensed guilt and regret creeping into my heart over my argument with Ashley. I quickly dismissed it and pushed it out of my soul. I decided long ago that I would never allow regret to occupy space in my life. I made this decision after my sister, Kim, passed away and I witnessed the regret my dad had with some of his memories and interactions with her.
My dad had a spirited history with Kim, especially when she was a young teenager. There were many prideful arguments and battles in the Rheam household during Kim’s early adolescence. My dad was just trying to provide for his family and struggled to relate with his hormone-enraged daughter as she struggled to discover her place in the world. Dad beat himself up later, after Kim passed, and expressed regret over things he said or failed to do for her over the years. I’ve concluded that regret is a wasted exercise that brings no value to our lives or the world.
Instead of regret, I evaluate. I evaluate my actions and think about how I could do better. Life is a continuous series of adjustments. I’m in a constant cycle of adjusting my behavior, my paradigms, and my basic approach to life. I do and say things differently than I did five years ago, because I’ve learned from past mistakes. Some mistakes I continue to make. I’m human, not a robot.
I’ve made plenty of mistakes over the years and I’ve let people down. I will continue to make mistakes, but one mistake I refuse to make is to allow myself to wallow in regret. Sure, there are many aspects of my life that I would change, if I had the privilege of a do over, but that will never be possible. I learn and I move on. I apologize, A LOT, and I don’t allow pride to rule my relationships.
If you’re living with regret, ask yourself why? If you’ve hurt someone and they’re still around, then take ownership of the mistake and ask for forgiveness. If that person is no longer with you, then forgive yourself. Don’t allow regret to stake a claim in your soul any longer. Move on with your life and allow yourself grace. Your mistakes are not new, many have made the same mistakes as you, you’re not unique in that area of life. Your past mistakes are part of your journey, but they must never define you. What regrets can let go of today?