Everyone has regrets in life.
I know you’ve read all of the teenage girl quotes on Facebook about how they don’t have regrets because all they’ve been through has made them what they are now.
Those things others do to us and what we do to others do help make us who we are.
But that certainly doesn’t mean we don’t have regrets. We should have regrets.
No one is perfect. I could go on forever about things I wish I wouldn’t have done or wish I would have done differently.
From buyers’ remorse to how I ended relationships as a younger man, the list would be impressive.
But one author summed up regret succinctly.
“If we have goals and dreams and want to do our best. If we really love people and don’t want to hurt them, we should feel pain when things go wrong,” said Kathryn Schulz. “The point isn’t to live without regrets. The point is not to hate ourselves for having them.”
Schulz said the inability to experience regret is one of the leading diagnostic characteristics of sociopaths and some kinds of brain damage.
There is nothing wrong with wishing you would have never done something or handled a situation better. Regret isn’t a sign of weakness. It is a sign that you expect more from yourself.
“Regret doesn’t remind us we did badly,” Schulz said. “It reminds us that we can do better.”
So don’t deny yourself a healthy number of regrets. They show self-awareness. They show personal growth.
Most of all, they show people you know you could have done better and that next time, you just might.
Kent Bush is the Augusta Gazette Publisher, a columnist and blogger for the GateHouse Media Network. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.