Human beings have the ability to regret. This is an amazing thing that is unique to our kind. Being able to regret and have regrets is what makes us able to move forward after we have done something that could have had a better outcome if we had handled it differently. It is a gift.

Many people see regret as a sign of weakness, I do not. I see it a sign of inner strength that can pull us through many situations, and when it is too late, it can help us through future situations without making the same mistakes. Yes, we all make mistakes. The question is whether we decide to continue making those same mistakes into our future because of pride (sometimes also known as embarrassment), or whether we make the decision to learn from our mistakes and regret what we have done from all the way to the depths of our souls. Only then, with regret for what we have done and being sincerely sorry, can we progress and become a better person.

Who We Are, painting #26 by Keith J. Eldridge

Who We Are (We all learn from our mistakes), painting #26 by Keith J. Eldridge

Nobody is perfect and nobody can be. It’s not who we are, we are not designed to be that way. But we are designed to strive for it, knowing full well we can never actually reach perfection. What good is that? When used in a positive way, it gives us the ability to want to be better and to look for ways to accomplish that. If we take this approach and we still want to have pride, we can be proud of our ability to recognize our mistakes; be them on purpose or simply a part of living life and learning through trial and error.

Rather than place the blame on someone or something else, or even worse, pretend that it never happened – or even worse, pretend that it is okay – I say feel the natural regret in your heart. Feel sorry for the affects of your mistakes, and wish that you hadn’t. No, you cannot change the past, you cannot take it back. But you can wish you hadn’t and create the urge inside yourself to not repeat your mistakes, and make better decisions in when similar situations arise later on.

iSHine!, painting #38 by Keith J. Eldridge

iSHine!, painting #38

Lastly, having regrets does not mean punishing yourself. It means you accepting the challenge to learn and grow. Just as it can be detrimental to hold grudges against others, you should not hold a grudge against yourself either. A regret is not a grudge, it is an opportunity to change for the better.

I say do it.

Keith

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