I like to listen to music while I work. It helps me concentrate. Your Side of the Bed by Little Big Town was playing. In that song they ask “Are you sleeping with your own regrets?” It got me thinking about regrets. I have always tried to live a regret free existence. I have always felt that we do the best we can in the time and place we are in. Even with this philosophy, there have been a couple things in my life that I have struggled with. Sharing these regrets makes me very nervous. They are things I do not talk about. What is interesting to me as I reflect on this is that I don’t mind sharing with strangers but I am very nervous to have people who know me aware of them. I guess I fear being judged.
One of those things was related to my first husband’s daughter. She ended up in foster care. I, for a long time, regretted that I didn’t try and get custody of her. At that time in my life, I had two children that I was raising as a single mother. I felt I was not in a place to be able to take on another child. After this girl became an adult, I was able to make contact with her. I told her I was sorry that I did not fight to get custody of her. She was very gracious and said that she was just fine and that she has gone on to get a degree in social services. Perhaps her childhood was related to her calling in life. Perhaps that is why the Universe conspired for me to feel I could not take on raising her. Maybe her upbringing turned out to be better for her than anything I could have provided her with.
Do you believe in soul contracts? The idea that we come into this life with set experiences we are meant to have. When I first heard about the idea, I was not so sure about it. Now I find it is a good fit for my belief system. It makes sense to me. If I had saved her from foster care would I have cheated her out of one of her soul contracts? Or would I have cheated myself out of the experience of regret and trying to make amends? Do soul contracts mean we do not try to help others? I do not think so. Helping others could likely be one of our soul contracts. Do you think regret serves a purpose? Does the avoidance of regret help us make better choices?
Another time in my life, I regretted, was when I was a teenager. I was depressed and was going to commit suicide. One of my friends realized what I intended to do. She told the counselor who drove out to my house. The close call made me re-evaluate the importance of life and I have never been suicidal since. My friend saved my life and I am eternally grateful for the action she took. My regret is in the action I took after the counselor was alerted. I lied. I told the counselor, my mother, everyone, that my friend was wrong. It made her look foolish. We were never friends again after that day. I lost my best friend as a result of that lie. I have since contacted her and expressed my gratitude, as well as, apologized for lying. She forgave me.
I recently wrote a blog called Beneficial Forgiveness. Dealing with these regrets is a perfect place to practice forgiving yourself. Remind yourself that you did do the best you could, in the time and place you were in then.
How have regrets shaped your life? Do you have regrets? Are there some you can’t seem to move past? How can you work on forgiving yourself for these things?
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