by Stephanie | 3:12 am

Living With Regrets

Throughout my entire life, I still have not come across someone who is living life without regrets. We’re all living with regrets.

Regret is such a strong word for some people, for others is just something to add to their “I don’t care” lists, but what people don’t understand is that regret can be anything from not speaking up about something, not applying to a university you wanted, not buying the whole wheat bread the doctor told you to, skipping a song on your playlist just because you weren’t in the mood; but deep inside you needed that message. That’s regret. Things we wished we could’ve done when we had the opportunity to do them, before time stepped in and ruined what may have been.

What Is It Like Living With Regrets

Living with regrets - lonely situationThis may not be everyone’s experience with this topic, but for me, living with regret means:

  • Staying up all night thinking of all the things that could’ve happen but didn’t because you were too afraid
  • Having an everyday monologue of how you could’ve handled a certain situation if only you’d done what you needed to do
  • Having occasional nightmares about said situations because you know your subconscious keeps track of everything
  • Wishing you could turn back time and do everything all over again
  • Feeling like a failure for letting something that may have changed your life, slip away from your hands
  • Feeling constant stress about thinking that you may miss another one of these opportunities
  • Feeling guilty for letting it go
  • Getting jealous of the person that had the same opportunity and actually took advantage of it
  • Feeling absolutely nothing, but regardless of that, still feeling anxious and overthinking every decision you’ve ever made

Is It Really That Serious?

For those of us who struggle with our mental health and deal with anxiety on a daily basis, knowing that we just let that opportunity fly, it’s a feeling that only makes our mental state worsen.

It’s extremely hard when depression is telling you that you didn’t need whatever it is that you’re regretting, while anxiety is begging and convincing you that you should’ve known better than to let that one in a lifetime opportunity pass. Something that you may never get…ever again.

Causes Of Regrets

There are so many things that go through an individual’s mind when they’re forced to make an uncalled, or anxiety-inducing decision.

In my case, my biggest reason to decline something and later on regret it for my whole life, is anxiety, stress, overthinking, and fear.

This may not be what other people experience. I’m sure some individuals end up regretting things due to anger, pride, and indecision.

loving with regrets and indecisionWhile doing my research I found out that 72% of people feel regretful towards their ideal self rather than the person they currently are. Another 76% regret the actions they could’ve taken to become a better person and their ideal self.

What Do We Regret?

This can go from the smallest things to the bigger picture and more abroad situations.

Some of the most common can be:

  • Relationships – Whether it was a failed relationship with a family member; someone who you trusted and betrayed you, or simply a romantic relationship that we either stayed in, or never got the chance to be with said person.
  • Tattoos – This can go from the simple act of tattooing something in your body that you regret, or not tattooing something that you wanted, but instead you did something another person wanted.
  • Careers – Now, this is one I can personally relate to. When I first started university, I went towards a path that I wasn’t sure I liked. All of that because other people told me they saw me as that specific type of person. I didn’t like what I was studying and it took me two and a half years to take action for myself and do what I wanted, not what everyone else wanted me to be.
  • Politics – You have no idea the number of people I’ve seen that voted for a certain political party and ended up regretting it as soon as they started seeing said person’s true colors.
  • Health – This is another one of the regretful things that I didn’t do for myself. I never cared about my health, so I wasn’t paying too much attention whenever I had red flags flying over me. I just let them come and then end up regretting not going to the doctor sooner. Something that I could’ve prevented from happening or said illness (diabetes) from getting worse, I just went straight ahead until there was no option for me to get better. From what I’ve learned, I still am learning…If you’re like me, please don’t wait so long if you see any red flags regarding your health, take action immediately.
  • Purchases – Living in today’s society one is expected to be, and do so many things, thanks to our capitalist nation, it’s sometimes hard to decide what we should purchase and what we shouldn’t. Someone who is an impulsive shopper may spend too much money on something, and then having to go through a frustrating period of time due to not having money for necessities such as food, rent, medication, etc, can be extremely difficult.
    living with regrets and frustrations
  • Opinions – We have all been there. We have all had that one uncomfortable moment where you want to express your thoughts so badly, but you’re too afraid for them to leave your mind, so you just shut them out. Even things that regard yourself, it’s a scary thing when someone makes certain comments about your life and you’re too afraid to say something or defend yourself. I’m still living with some of those regrets.

Aftermaths Of Regret

Living with regrets always leaves us with a bitter taste afterwards. It’s like you’re constantly living with a reminder of what you should’ve done, or said. It’s an empty feeling of hopelessness, of not being loud enough, or not being strong enough to control yourself or let those personal thoughts out of your system.

No matter how hard you try, it just doesn’t go away. I’ve learned to live with some of my regrets even though there are still bits and pieces remaining somewhere inside of me.

I still have those deep thoughts of what I could’ve said or done. For now, I’m just trying to live, based on what’s essential for me, not for anyone else. I’m starting to stand strong with my opinions and beliefs, which I’m extremely proud of. I’m finally being myself.

Have you been living with regrets? What are some regretful things that to this day, still bother you? I would love to hear from you in the comment section down below.

Comments

Jake

Hi, people can be so hard on themselves. We all know, that nobody is perfect. We all have faults, and many of us are painfully aware of them. We also make mistakes, hurt other people, and get hurt by others.

 We set such high expectations for ourselves, and then beat ourselves up when we don’t reach them. We blame ourselves for things that we wish we could have done better. Rather than focussing on the future, and what we want, we focus on the hurts of our past.

Jan 26.2020 | 03:33 am

Steve W.

Thank you for sharing this. It is a very timely message for me. One of the biggest regrets I have is in my career as I am sure with many others as well. A lot of what we chose is based on what others told us, be it friends, family or relatives who mean well… coming from their very own point of view. That’s why I make it a point that for my children, I will never impose upon them what I want them to do in their lives. My job is to provide and to give them the opportunity to explore for themselves what they want in their lives. Thanks again for sharing this timely message.

Jan 26.2020 | 03:33 am

    Stephanie

    That is such an important thing. Parents often expect their kids to be a certain way or study something they want their kids to study but not what their kids want to do. It’s such a bad example and gives them the doubt of not knowing how to make decisions on their own 

    Jan 26.2020 | 04:37 pm

Jesse

Wow, I have lived regrets my entire life and never analyzed them to this level.  I can maybe say I have regrets in many of the categories you described.  Something that helps me is speaking about them with my spouse and getting feedback.  It also helps to talk more about if I had made the choices I am regretting, my life today may not have been where it is at.  I may have not met this wonderful person, I may not have traveled to the places I have visited.  But even still those regrets are in the back of our minds.   This will help many people.  I feel it has helped me.

Jan 26.2020 | 03:41 am

    Stephanie

    Being aware of those mistakes is both a curse and a positive thing. I’m glad you don’t regret the life you have right now. That is a true blessing! 

    Jan 26.2020 | 04:39 pm

Robin

I regret several things that haunt me still. My actions and behavior in the past has come to depress me terribly. I have endured many nights of restlessness over the person I was in the past, acting out, acting up being wild and out of control. Stemming from an unbalanced home-life. I know that’s at the root of it all. I am learning to forgive myself and slowly I am beginning to eventually sleep at night, but not without a struggle. I regret the tattoo I got, I sure do as your article says. Don’t know why I wanted it, it was all self-sabotage in an attempt to drive somebody away. It was fear. It’s not who “I” am. Besides, it’s awful artwork and looks terrible. I regret not taking more time to be present in the moment and appreciate the fleeting beauty of some certain situations and be more mindful about things. I used to adore Abby and Louise, 2 girls I used to know from Stirling. I didn’t feel ‘attraction’ in the classic sense, it was an appreciation I was too afraid to show, a pure adoration of their femininity, that was all. It was pure of heart. I feel I wasted it. Peer pressure was a big part of me acting out, I had to be ‘seen’ as being somebody I wasn’t. I regret not being true to myself more. I should have went with who I truly am, I just didn’t have the courage, instead of being a beautiful, tender and free-spirited gentle natured, loving and open person that I truly can be, I had to be this some-one else, forced into behaving a certain way to appease others. It was like I was looking through a letterbox from the inside of a shell, watching the actions and consequences of this other ‘me’ playing out before me. I don’t know if I’ve ever ‘loved’ either. I kind of hide my emotions from it now. I wasn’t allowed to talk about being gay, that was shut out at home, not open to discussion or acceptance. And when I discovered how I can transform into this beautiful woman with clothes and make-up, it’s been transformative to me but still, I have to hide it and suppress it in my current home environment. But that’s okay, I’m working through this discovery in secret moments to myself. Mental health wasn’t something that was an open-forum in my house and with closed-off austere, emotionally distant parents, expression and even the most rudimentary conversations strained and exceptionally difficult. I’ve come to realize I have so many issues and so many regrets, that the only way to conquer them is line them up one by one and dismantle them piece by piece. I don’t have regrets about failed relationships, I have come to accept those with an almost inevitable regard of the circumstances but have begun to be thankful for having been given the opportunity to have shared them in the first place. It’s sad that some of them had no chance to grow and develop with me, and some I have spiraled without having them as a ‘support-network’ as a consequence, but all the same, it’s a sense of appreciation I have managed to manufacture and be thankful for. Some days still though, are a struggle. I’ve endured a lot. Racism, bullying, uncaring parenting, violence, un-acceptance, sexism, tainting of food, harassment both personally and workplace, the list is extensive and it’s tough. I think it may be a key to alleviate some of this, by writing it down like this.
Thanks for reading.

Apr 10.2021 | 02:39 pm

    Stephanie

    I am so glad that you could find a safe space in my blog to open up about these situations. You’re a fighter and a survivor, never give anyone the power to live your life much less control it; that is only something you have the power to do. You seem like such a kind-hearted soul. Never let anyone take that light away from you.

    Apr 11.2021 | 12:38 am

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