Releasing Regret

I’ve been very blessed in many ways –and often, I take all of my good karma for granted. I can complain easier than I can breathe and I can find reasons to be unhappy much easier than I can find reasons to be thankful. All self-loathing aside, I have been lucky in my life that I can happily and easily say I have no regrets.

Maybe that sounds like I’m trying to brag that “I’ve done everything right in my life and have made all the best choices” –but that’s far from the truth. Sure, I’ve made many mistakes, said things that I probably shouldn’t have said, broken hearts that I could have prevented breaking, and manipulated people or opportunities more than what’s acceptable.

I’m not perfect (I certainly don’t claim to be), but I realize that part of life is screwing up. Even though I’m not a fan of being single (I am, however, working on it), I realize that like all good things in life – without a little work, you would never value them as much as they deserve.

Recently, Mr. Unavailable (another guy who tells me to chill out) sent me an article he thought I would find interesting about regrets. This popular blog has now been turned into a book (hint, hint, hint) and is a sounding board for people to write what they most regret in their past.

Lemondrop published an article based on this blog/book called “20 Things 20-Something Women Regret.” Of those 20 regrets, 18 of them relate to lost relationships, unrequited love, marriage, or lust.

Hmm. Of everything we’ve ever done or not done in our lives, the things we regret the most have to do with relationships. Why is that?

Why are the choices we make concerning the ones we love, the ones we make love to, the ones we want to love, but don’t, or the ones we love who don’t love us back – so damn important?

I spend more than enough time thinking about the past – and while I’m satisfied with the decisions I’ve made concerning previous loves, I find myself asking “What if I would have handled the situation differently?” or “What if I would have just accepted him for who he is?” or “Why didn’t I walk away sooner?” or “Why wasn’t I what he wanted?”

I realize concentrating on the coulda or the woulda or the shoulda is not healthy, but I believe its part of human nature (as validated through this blog).

But instead of regret –why can’t we look at the end of a relationship as the opportunity to find all of the wonderful things to come? Being stuck in a relationship that doesn’t work only prolongs the process of eventually finding the right person and doesn’t do anything for your self-confidence.

Instead of regret –why don’t we trust in a presence higher than ourselves who controls the fate of what’s meant for us? No amount of wishing or hoping will change that a relationship ended, regardless of who ended it or why.

Instead of regret –why don’t we stop blaming ourselves or putting ourselves down because of those who walked away or shattered our hearts, and realize there is a reason for it? If they could live without us (and we most certainly can live without them, I promise), then they would never give us the love we need and desire.

Instead of regret –be proud and be thankful of what you’ve learned and that tomorrow, a whole new page could turn into an exciting and passionate chapter of your life (either single or taken).

They say it is better to of loved and lost than to never have loved at all. And I say it’s better to believe in tomorrow and live today, than to dwell in yesterday.

This journey is teaching me to embrace myself, today, right now, in this moment, and to stop wondering about all that could (and will) be or should have been.

So take a plunge, all of you who are living with regret, including you, Mr. Unavailable (my difficult and charming friend), and surrender all of it. Just give it away and let the floods rush through you.

You can’t stop them. Believe me, I’ve tried. You won’t regret them. Believe me, I never have.

C’mon Baby, Make it Hurt So Good

To overcome fear –must you feel pain?

I’ve been reading a daily mediation book since the start of the year. It was a suggestion from my mother (by the way, I love reading suggestions, so if you have one, please share!) that she recommended because it helped calm her nerves.

I should have taken it as a sign that I would ultimately write this blog, but it’s an everyday “food for thought and prayer” that was written based from Alcoholics Anonymous, and my mother used it for anxiety issues. However, I think most of the material can relate to any addiction…or just those of us who tend to be utterly obsessive.

Regardless, The Language of Letting Go has proven to be helpful –and a bit of a mind reader. It almost always seems to know exactly what I need to read. It’s like it knows what days of the week are more difficult and about all the different moods I cycle through.

Yesterday –the entry was about “feeling the pain”. In a nutshell, it says to overcome fear –you must feel through all of your discomfort. Of course, acknowledging is part of that, but even more –is allowing yourself to physically go through the ordeals.

To believe my higher power can take away my distress and my fears and intensity towards not being in a relationship or being single –I’ve got to feel my way through it. I have to let myself cry, let myself get upset, let myself get angry, and let myself…

…let go.

It makes sense to me now why Step 3: surrendering all of the negativity to a higher power comes after Step 2: believing. Before you can give up anything – you have to figure out why you need to get it away from you in the first place.

Letting myself feel the longing, the regret, the sadness, the loneliness –all of it…is actually kind of refreshing. Maybe that makes me a sadistic love lady, but crying it out, yelling/screaming it out, writing it out, talking it out –just flat-out getting it out gives me a little bit of freedom.

I’m not exactly sure how I’m going to “surrender it” or how long it may take me –but I think I’m ready to approach it. My longtime friend, T, said in a comment on a previous blog that “I think this is one of those steps that you have to keep coming back to, that you have to keep reminding yourself of.”

I agree with her. There are always going to be periods of highs and lows, and moments where you believe with your whole heart and moments when you just want to eat some peanut butter.

I’m human. I’m single. I’m struggling. I may believe today and tomorrow I may not. But for now, I’m accepting myself as I am and attempting to keep my head held high. And, even as it hurts (hurt so good, actually) –I’ll keep pushing through.

Because one day – all will make sense and all will unfold as it should.

As soon as I figure out how to surrender….and all that.