Remorse and Regret

What fills you with remorse? Perhaps you’re estranged from someone you care deeply for and don’t know how to fix things. Maybe you don’t care anymore. You might have determined that you weren’t getting what you needed out of that friendship or relationship. No matter where you may be in your life, chances are some things have happened that have filled you with some remorse.

I listened to a woman today who was deeply upset over a relationship issue with her sister. Her sister married a man that the family didn’t think was a good fit for her. Because of the strained relationship with her family, the sisters haven’t spoken in over three years. I could tell in chatting with her that this broke her heart. She misses her sister greatly and doesn’t know how to make things right. But she also cannot condone the behavior of her brother-in-law, who is fighting severe drug addiction issues. While she loves her sister, she doesn’t want to complicate matters into the mess her sister is living with at the moment.

Many of us understand exactly where she’s coming from because we’ve all had to fight various demons. One of the most challenging decisions we face is to get involved in something or to walk away. If life were easy, then there would be no questions as to what the decision should be. But, unfortunately, that’s what gives us challenges in life. We have decisions to make based on the information we have available, and sometimes we go off our gut.

I have remorse about a few issues. My most immense remorse is I didn’t believe in myself enough as I was growing up to go after my dreams and what I wanted. Instead, I settled, and as an adult, I’m having to compensate for those settling moments by working my tail off to get a better future. I spend more time working and studying than I do having a life. I know that will benefit me in the long run, but it is not a lot of fun. I’m also angry with myself for not seeing when people were using me in friendships. I don’t regret my friendships with some of those people, but I regret that they used me without understanding what was going on. That’s on me. Now I see posts where they throw innuendos in social media posts about people’s attitudes and actions. You’ll never see them accept responsibility for their actions and things. All you see is them reflecting on what other people are doing and judging how other people act. It sounds to me like several people could learn responsibility and accountability.

I have remorse about not always being the most honest person. I’m working hard to change that, but it’s never easy. In many ways, it can also construe as a mental illness. It takes work and dedication, but if you’re willing to do the work, you can see results. Of course, the most challenging thing is admitting that you have a problem. But, once you acknowledge that step, you can work on the rest.

When I started researching remorse, I learned through the power of positivity’s website that in 2014 a study published by the journal neurology found that highly cynical people had a higher risk of developing dementia than more open trusting people. This topic included risk factors like age, sex, lifestyle habits, smoking, and heart health. However, researchers still found this true, and of course, living with regret could hurt your heart. I have to work on this daily because I love cynicism.

As I was reading, I was interested in finding that there are some stages that people can do to let go of remorse, and the 1st one is uncovering phase. This topic means you become aware of regret or pain you’ve been holding onto from past drama or during a traumatic event. Just like anything else, you have to be mindful of what you’re full of remorse over. Awareness is the key to unlocking the problem.

The 2nd phase is called the decision phase. This topic means that focusing any of your energy on the past will not allow you to move on. In essence, you need to let go of the drama and the bullshit. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you forgive and forget, but you move on. As I found in the reading, you don’t have to necessarily give up the thoughts or feelings of retaliation towards the people that wronged you, but you do have to move on to heal; otherwise, you are stuck in neutral.

Last but not least is the work phase. This topic is the phase where you work on the internal problems that you face. Many people have issues that stem from their childhood. They constantly deal with the past to deal with the future. I have to work on this phase all the time. We all have demons, whether we want to admit it or not. The key is being willing to identify those demons and confront them. I have things from my childhood that I’ve blocked out because they caused severe reactions later in my life. It’s only been in the last few years that I’ve begun to tap into those reasons. I don’t need to be a psychic to know that life changes consistently. I need to be willing to be aware of the circumstances that I face and the consequences that go along with my choices. When we deal with inner conflict, we have to also deal with inner hurt. If we aren’t willing to admit when we’re hurting, we have no chance of healing. Sure we can ignore the signs for a while, but those feelings will rear their ugly head sooner or later. Sometimes those emotions manifest in ways that we never saw coming.

So here’s my suggestion for all of you. If there are things in your life you are genuinely remorseful over, figure out why and move on. If there are incidents in your past that you haven’t wanted to deal with for various reasons, don’t just suppress them because, at times, they will have ugly consequences in your life. You might lash out at somebody that you didn’t mean to, or you might act uncomfortably. Be mindful of your actions. Remorse doesn’t have to mean regret. But it does mean that we have to face things that may be uncomfortable. No matter what you may face, I hope you find the piece you need. Have a great day, everyone.

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