The Clout Of The Past

“You can never regret anything you do in life. You kind of have to learn the lesson from whatever the experience is and take it with you on your journey forward.” Aubrey O’Day
“The man who insists upon seeing with perfect clearness before he decides, never decides. Accept life, and you must accept regret.” Henri Frederic Amiel

“We crucify ourselves between two thieves: regret for yesterday and fear of tomorrow.” Fulton Oursler

Wow but when I look back on what happened up to this point in time, I can see the numerous mistakes I made. I just can hardly believe I am guilty, of the huge number of horrible choices. I am ashamed at the things I didn’t say and didn’t do. I am also embarrassed for the occasions I did say and do things, I shouldn’t have said or done. I can’t believe I was capable of such behavior, but it is staring me right in the face. If I could go back, I would change so much.

I really mean this, but how familiar does this sound to all of us. I listen to so many people tell me how many regrets they have. They go on and on posturing genuine sorrow. Some of them lament the arguments and fights with family members. Now those members are dead, and there is no going back. They so wished the words “I’m sorry,” were not so difficult to say at the time. Now they needn’t worry about those words, which are now mute.

Others state how they renewed relationships with parents, brothers, sisters and other family members, but bemoan having waited so long. The activities and years they might have enjoyed with those family members are gone. There is no returning, nor reliving former years. On a low day, the early days come back and bite.

Other people believe they missed out on life opportunities, regarding relationships and jobs. Some went so far as to say they entered the wrong field of study, and have worked ceaselessly at a job they hate. How awful their current work is, and how much better the original job would have been. They liked so many positive things about the missed job opportunity, and at times mourn out loud, their mistake.

Some of us miss the opportunities when, we had to come to the support of others. We couldn’t spare the time or energy. We contemplate this, and are so aware of the ability and time we couldn’t give. Those we might have helped, turned to others for aid. So much of the present might have been different, if we had chosen wisely, with more emotion, consideration and love. Now we are just filled with grief, and long for the past, a better time and place.

Now I believe it is time we stopped the movie and faced reality. On a bad day we review the past and beat ourselves up. That is a problem, and definitely doesn’t help us in the present. How perfect the past appears to be, when we see it from our present stance. The dilemma is, we look at it in an open carefree and tainted manner. We look at the facts, and our own words or actions fill us with remorse. We can’t argue any of it, and we know and accept that, with disheartening feelings.

We have not considered the thoughts and emotions, at the time we lived the past. I find this is the crux to being honest about the glorious past. We leave out and forget so much. We can’t recall deeply, every thought, feeling and emotions swirling around in our heads. maybe we had many stresses at that time, and many people offering advice. Perhaps they were people we trusted. Perhaps we were uninformed about the reality of our situation. It is possible money may have been an issue, or time, or stretched emotional burdens played into the decisions. Most likely we were not as sure of ourselves, and did not consider all of the impressions, nor did we fathom all of the outcomes.

The bygones remain in the past. We based our decisions on what we grasped, at that time, and also what we figured out, given our emotional state. The burdens and stresses of the preceding time, are not considered as much from our present perspective. This obviously keeps a magnitude of pieces missing from the picture. When any of us recall forgotten memories, it is with downsized glasses. There is so much we can’t remember, or perhaps we choose to forget. How difficult it becomes to admonish ourselves, for the choices we made at another place in time, both physically, mentally and emotionally. It is quite possible we were not compassionately ready, or mentally instructed to have chosen a different path.

It befits us to accept the choices we made, and not look back in total guilt. I have pangs of conscience for not having done more for a sick relative. If I reflect on the actuality at that moment, I had four young children, lived a distance away, and had health concerns of my own. I do bemoan, but I also comprehend the gravity of problems, that interfered with making an alternative decision. In another case my attempts at reconciliation were cast on deaf ears. As much as I tried, it was to no avail. Yes I regret not having made peace, and probably I could have tried harder, but intertwined with the truth is the fact that my overtures went by the wayside. Life is also happening all around us and we have responsibilities to maintain.

We just can’t glorify the past, make our decisions seem simpler than they were, nor pounce on ourselves for the many decisions we made. In reality those decisions were made in a totally different time period. We perhaps also had an alternative frame of mind. Let the past go because we can’t play the Monday quarterback card. Whether we chose wisely or not is irrelevant. We did the best we could, given the information we had, with the stresses and problems on our shoulders at the time. Most likely we would do the same things again, without having the aid of greater comprehension, which came with time.

In the present, we have the opportunity to pick our selections with more knowledge and understanding. That is the best we can do. It is wonderful to have a handle on the past, learn from it, and accept with remorse our poor decisions. We can reflect on how we can salvage any part of our dreams, by new selections in the present moment. We can always do better, and we should never believe we don’t have new choices.

Maybe our viewpoint has more to do with our discomfort, of making an attempt to try something new. if we have the desire, we can make alternate decisions, based on more facts and knowledge. Our attitudes have likely also transformed. It is too late to erase the past, but the present and the future are still open to our own substitutions. Beating ourselves up about something we cannot even totally comprehend is ridiculous.

If we can replace something in the present time, for something better, then we can and should attempt to do that. Learn from your bygone days, most definitely try to make more thoughtful decisions, and fix what you can fix, but never try to live in the spent time. It is the present moment and the future that is calling to us. That is why we all need to go forward with our lives, and use what we have learned for our own benefit, and the benefit of others.

“Never look back and regret, look back and smile at what you have learned.” Michelle C. Ustaszeski

“Always Do Your Best. Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse and regret.” Miguel Angel Ruiz

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