It seems we’re constantly saying things along the lines of “I really regret doing that”. But how many of these things should we really be worrying about? Genuinely be regretting? I’m frequently doing things I instantly tell myself I regret – eating too much, drinking too much, not revising as hard as I should’ve and saying the wrong things. But how many of these are we going to look back on in years to come? Surely those are the things to laugh about or learn from?
I thought about it and asked a few people what their biggest regrets were, it seemed people were only concerned about the amount of calories they’d consumed, not fulfilling an ambition they once aimed for, the time they lost their virginity or fights within different relationships. I wanted to look further and really discover the regrets I may have, if any:
I regret worrying about what I looked like 24/7, worrying about the amount of calories I consumed and how I could get rid of them again.
I regret not having enough confidence and only pointing out the negatives I saw in myself.
I regret ignoring the great qualities I have.
I regret caring about what other people thought of me.
I regret focusing too much of my time on people that never focused back on me.
I regret not focusing enough on the people that actually were focused on me.
I regret not dedicating enough of my time to my family.
I regret not thanking my mum enough for the things she does for me.
I regret not taking every possible opportunity I’ve been given.
Reading back on these, I realised that these weren’t regrets at all; these were opportunities to reflect on and make positive changes to.
So how many things should we actually “regret”? And how many of these things are genuine regrets? Or just life lessons on the mistakes we’ve made in the past? Who cares if you slept with that one guy when you were drunk? Or the person you lost your virginity to? Who cares about calories or what item of clothing you wore at one point? These things may have once felt right to you, and if they did, don’t regret them, because they’re what made you the person you are today. I believe a regret should be something you choose not to make a learn from, but if you can change that and turn it into a positive situation, it’s not a regret at all; it’s an opportunity.