Regret is a silent thief.
A voice in my mind that replays conversations.
I have an inner auditor who reviews and re-reviews the evidence from the past, asking, “Why did you do this? Why didn’t you do that?”
The most hurtful question of all arises in my mind: “What was I thinking?”
As if it matters.
It does not.
What’s done is done. Like wind through a leafy tree. Like water over a river rock. Like sand in the hourglass, gone are the former days of my life.
I have a working theory that people who have trauma or have socialization of certain sorts tend to overthink extra. I think it’s because we aren’t able to clearly interpret the signals when they are sorted so quickly into “danger” vs. “not danger.’
Overthinking is something we are encouraged to do by a society that shows us that the “good” people who make the “right” choices get the “best” things in life.
Bad news for people who learn as they go.
As I take more bold moves in my business, I notice that the inner auditor isn’t there as much as I’m used to hearing that voice in the past.
But when it comes to old, failed relationships? She is always there. Analyzing, measuring, reviewing, scolding, shaking her head in disappointed judgment.
“You, oh, girl, what WERE you thinking?”
I know what I was thinking – I’ve reviewed it 1,000 times or more.
And the outcome remains the same.
So, one day while walking the dog, I announced loudly, “I REGRET EVERYTHING! EVERYTHING! THERE! ARE YOU HAPPY?”
And then I burst into a belly laugh. The dog thought I was losing my marbles.
Yeah, great! I regret everything! Now that that’s settled, I’m moving on!
Regret is a silent thief because all of that replaying of the past makes us hesitant.
We avoid deciding.
We avoid making bold new moves.
We make everything we do into something that we are guaranteed to evaluate critically in the future.
If we regret as a pattern of living…we assume all new actions will result in future regret.
And if I assume playfully that I’m going to regret everything…I can just pick the option that I think is most useful.
And move forward.
Here’s the surprising result of me announcing my intent to regret everything:
The habit of regret has started to evaporate. I notice that my inner auditor doesn’t show up as often.
I decide with less angst and protection against my future mind.
I move more freely.
Like wind through a leafy tree. Like water over a river rock.
And it’s a delight, being in motion like this.
Perhaps this can work for you, too.
Decide in advance that you might regret this choice. Or not. But you’re going to have fun deciding and moving on.
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