Regret All of Your Past Regrets

Regret All of Your Past Regrets

There is a common life philosophy—one should live free of regrets because regret creates unhappiness, and past actions are beyond one’s control. While the former statements are true, there is another (perhaps better) reason that people should try not to rue their past acts. Whenever you make a decision, you are making what you believe to be the best one with the information you have at that point in time. The saying “hindsight is 20/20” means, that, with the knowledge, wisdom and emotional distance, you might conclude differently and by extension, act in another way than you previously did.

We constantly make decisions all the time, actually, most are unconscious. Even if the choice made was, in retrospect, a “bad” one (although that is a relative term), it was made because you genuinely thought it was for the best. It is our nature to take care of ourselves. Even when someone does something that is constituted as “self-sabotage” such as, passively-aggressively ruining a relationship or intentionally missing an opportunity, there is some reason he or she has done so.

People don’t hurt themselves for no reason. Many times an avoidance relates to fear of rejection or getting emotional entwined with something, or someone. This is a defense mechanism. Arguably, not a very good one in the longterm, but it keeps people within their comfort zones and protects them from their fears.

We can always learn from past mistakes, and apply that knowledge to the present and future. It’s important to be compassionate to yourself and give yourself the benefit of the doubt, and not chastise yourself for past errors. Most importantly, accepting mistakes or your past means that you can be compassionate towards yourself, and move on from more difficult times. The most unlikable and miserable people you’ll meet are this way because they don’t like themselves.

Or, as RuPaul so wisely said, “If you can’t love yourself, how the hell are you gonna love someone else?”

Micaela Gardner

Commitment Issues Re: Life Philosophies

Commitment Issues Re: Life Philosophies

From early childhood through my adolescence (and in all honesty, into my adulthood as well), I had this idea that someday, somehow, I would figure all this out. Happiness and wisdom were always just outside my grasp, and I would rack my brain, searching ways to outsmart myself and achieve these fluid concepts that I obsessed over virtually all the time.

When I was 17, I left high school and enrolled in the local city college, and absurdly cliched as this whole situation was the first class I enrolled in was Philosophy 101. I recall walking out of the first class dazed, existentially exhausted, and feeling like I knew absolutely nothing–that this class–these mere two hours!–somehow poked a hole in my “bounty” of personal knowledge, and it was completely emptied by the end of the day.

You see, only in the past year had I begun to piece together a semblance of self and the confidence that comes with intimately knowing yourself. I tried on life philosophies as if they were the latest fashion trend, and I would toss them aside in favor of something more shiny and new.

An example of one of these philosophies I tried was “Honesty is the best policy.” I instantly received accurate feedback that I was being an asshole. I tried (and supremely failed at) “Saying yes to everything.” I ended up full of resentments and devoid of any energy for myself.

What I learned, I think, is that life is too complicated to sum up in platitudes that you can embroider on a pillow. Life (and remember: all of this is pure conjecture since I still have no idea what I’m doing here) gets increasingly more puzzling as I age, but experience helps me emotionally compensate for this confusion.

Charles M. Schulz, author of Peanuts and one of my favorite comic artists once said, “My life has no purpose, no direction, no aim, no meaning, and yet I’m happy. I can’t figure it out. What am I doing right?”

Maybe there’s something to that. Perhaps by overanalyzing minute details in our lives and creating narratives that don’t necessarily fit our life stories, we damage the ability to feel joy and appreciate the world in all of its majesty.