This quote is powerful. I try to read it every single day to remind myself of what’s important in life and not to stress over what is not so important. (Remember when it was popular to sigh ‘don’t sweat the small stuff?’ This well-meant sentiment somehow turned into an excuse not to clean the kitchen. Unfortunate. Anyway…)
So, if only these three things matter: 1) how much you loved, 2) how gently you lived, and 3) how gracefully you let go, then why do we carry around so many regrets?
Is regret an emotion that is worth experiencing? I’d like to hear your thoughts. My Ironman is of the opinion that if you currently ‘regret’ something, then you are wasting time and energy: that emotional energy is holding you to the past and impeding your ability to move fully into the future with confidence and emotional clarity.
I’m of the opinion that regret can be useful if we use it as a lens to interpret what we consider to be a ‘mistake’ and then commit not to repeat this mistake in the future. Sometimes we need to be able to look back and say: “I made that decision with the information I had available and the wisdom I had access to at that time. Now, my decision may be different.” I’m also of the opinion that the Universe provides us ample repeated opportunities to repeat the same mistake, if we so choose. Meaning: if we didn’t learn a lesson the first time around, we will probably get another chance! In yoga, we call this samskara. On a personal level, our spiritual journey is ripe with repeated opportunities for learning lessons.
Carina Chocano from aeon online magazine writes an article entitled “Why regret is essential to the good life”. While I don’t agree with everything in her article, it does supply a fascinating view on regret as an integral piece of the complexity of human psychology.
So, my questions to you: What do you regret? Why? What can this regret teach you? What are you doing to strengthen yourself so these regrets don’t follow you around? How gracefully can you let go of this regret? See my posts on Aparigraha on why ‘letting go’ is of central importance in the yoga lifestyle.
Give it a good thought, let me know.