I wrote this in response to the following e-mail.
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Regret - I have an idea that at the core of Who We Are, the simple answer is "Have No Regrets". Since life always seems more complicated, I will elaborate. I also have an idea that regret is a useful tool or emotion similar to a wake up call. It is a mechanism to alert us of something not gone right or the way we had thought or anticipated. In this case, regret can be a form of awareness to bring it to our attention that something is not in accord with Who We Really Are. To dwell on regret, as with any emotion, is not the point. To see things the way they really are is the point. We need to remember that there is no good or bad, right or wrong, that things just are. We are the ones that place meaning to all things, people and situations.
I went to the dictionary and found this:
To feel regret.
1. A sense of loss and longing for someone or
Synonyms: regret, sorrow, grief, anguish, woe,
heartache, heartbreak. All of these nouns denote mental distress.
the broadest range, from mere disappointment to a painful sense
dissatisfaction, self-reproach, or longing, as over something
lost, gone, done, or left undone.
The part of the above that I look at is that about " ... over something lost, gone, done or left undone." In the case of "lost, gone, done" there is nothing that we can do about the circumstances of these because they are in the past. As for "left undone" there is still an opportunity available. Actually in the case of "lost, gone, done" there is also an opportunity and that opportunity may not always be easy to see and still it does exist.
As you say, we are not to ignore what has happened, we want to look at all instances and become aware of how this relates to who we are. Did the instance that you regret show you that that is not who you are and therefore you regret the instance or you regret that you were not who you are in that instance? Another way to look at regret is if it is handled improperly, it can turn to invalidation of who you are (or were) at the moment of the incident. I have an idea that all you need to concern yourself with is who you were at the moment of the incident (and every instance for that matter). All incidents are about who we are and not about the circumstances surrounding the incident. Everyone will have the opportunity to learn from each and every incident, when they choose to.
You spoke of memories. In the case of regret, it is about what we choose to remember about the circumstance(s). We can choose to remember in a way that will assist us in making better decisions in the future and avoid having to have regrets about anything. What we CHOOSE to remember. Yes we do have memories and reasons for doing things and every memory and reason has two sides, just like everything else, a positive and a negative side. Regret , though, seems to dwell on the negative side of things because regret deals with the circumstances of the incident, not about who we are. (See also Decisions/Consequences)
A little story. Recently, my wife was interested in buying patio furniture. It was not really in our budget to get it now, yet she was motivated to get it before summer and at a discount. She had found a place that was having a closing sale for 50% off list. She is in sales and knows that 50% off list is a good deal. Well, we went to the place and looked at the furniture and could not decide what to get. I, not being motivated, assisted her in choosing a nice set and left the final decision completely up to her. We could not decide, so we left. We went back two more times and almost bought. The forth time, my wife said that we were just going and getting it. When we got to the store, all the furniture that was 50% off was now only 30% off. My wife got very upset and started to regret that we did not buy it when it was 50% off. We left the store, without buying and went home. Because she was upset right than, I waited to say anything. (I learned not to talk rationally to a my wife when she is upset.)
Later I said that we were not meant to buy it than and that a better opportunity would present itself when the time was right, we just needed to trust ourselves and the universe. She did not really what to hear this, yet went along with my sentiment. About a week later, she learned of another place for us to check out. Not only did we get a better deal, we also got better furniture and a better warranty.
Moral: Don't regret (or sweat the small stuff), know who you are and what you want and go with what feels the best (according to who you are) in all situations and when it is not happening, it isn't time. I am sure you have heard the expression, " All things come to he who waits." Pray or ask for guidance from the Universal Power through your Self. You are the conduit to all the power that exists. When you ask with all of your being, the Universe gives you what you need. Like the Rolling Stones said "You can't always get what you want, but you'll find sometimes, you get what you need."
of regret speak of feeling and remembering
what brings us back to Who
We Are. So you could say that it is
good to have the feeling of regret in that it alerts you to something
that you need to put attention to, to
determine if this is who you are and how you
really feel about a person, place or thing. Giving your attention
to it gives
you more insight into who you are and ultimately you learn
more about being. For when you are truly being, there is no regret,
nothing more than being.
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