Many people seek to live life with no regrets. It’s certainly an appealing notion. Regrets can eat away at you, haunt you and hold you back. They range in scale from lost loves and failed careers to a poorly chosen word, but none are pleasant. So since we are all engaged in that endless pursuit of happiness, it makes sense that regrets would be on some people’s zero-tolerance list.
But how can one live life without regret? I can see two ways. The first, to avoid ever creating regrets. This is obviously a fruitless endeavour, most regrets are by their nature unforeseeable. Even if you succeeded in avoiding doing anything you could possibly regret, then there’s no doubt you’ll let a lot of good go by with the bad. Living life in fear of regret will stop you from ever properly living it at all.
The second and apparently more popular method is to deny your regrets. To refuse that many or all the things that you have done that others might consider foolhardy or reckless are actually regrettable. This method, even more so than the first, is fanciful. We all have made mistakes. None of us possess perfect judgement, but how can we hope to improve on faults that we ignore?
Regrets are important. They are unavoidable and unpleasant, but they exist for a reason and that reason is to allow us to learn from our mistakes. Regrets must not be dwelt on, but nor can they be ignored. If you’re faced with regret, give it its due and no more. Think about why it is you have it, what mistake you made and why you made it. Then, you adjust your judgement accordingly. By calmly considering your failings, they can make you stronger rather than weaker.