Being resolute in the present has its’ challenges. Especially when you keep looking back on the past and tossing that big old “Regret Salad” around! It is confusing. How do you learn from your mistakes and past decisions without falling over the line into regretful thinking?
Let’s take this step by step with an example problem. I continually tell myself that I am flat out grieving my decision to sell off all my share of the acreage and cabin in the woods. At the time, I was retiring and struggling with a very difficult marriage. Money was getting tighter and tighter. I had come to a fork in the road. Sell my house, sell the land, move somewhere new all together, live in the cabin on the land, or what? I chose to sell my house and the land and move to a new and more affordable place. I find myself missing the cabin most of all. That leads to me just beating myself up for selling and constantly searching for a way to recreate the feelings I experienced on the land.
So can I learn something from this regret? Let’s start with forgiving myself first.
Step One: Be Resolute in my forgiveness of myself for selling the cabin and the land. “I forgive myself. It was the best decision I could make with the information I had at the time.” Now can you think of a regretful decision you made? Would you have made a different decision with different information? As I write this blog it has occurred to me that I would NOT have made a different decision. It would have taken a crystal ball to have seen into the future. Guess what, I don’t own a crystal ball.
Step Two: Be Resolute in the blessing the past and the past mistake or regret or decision. “Thank you land and little cabin for every memory and lesson I learned. You were one of the best times of my life and even the sad times taught me so very much.” That little cabin taught me so much. It taught me that I loved the feeling of freedom experienced in open spaces with big land and the comfort of a small town. I loved looking forward to seeing family and friends drive down that little country road and pull into my gravel drive. The anticipation and preparation of their arrivals brought me so much joy each and every time. I learned that I loved nature. The cows, the baby calves appearing with their unsteady little legs, the surprise visits of deer, bear, wild cats and nightly howls of the coyotes, oh, and I almost forgot, the raccoon that snuck up to the deck to eat the dog food. I loved the antique bed on the sleeping porch and my solitude there. The decision to leave the cabin taught me that I did not want to live out there so far from family isolated with my ex. It was not a place I wanted to share with him. It revealed even more of his temperament, his moods and his integrity. So, like a friend that one day you must say good-bye to, I say good-bye to you little cabin.
Step Three: Now Step Two was hard. Stay Resolute and make a new resolve. In this instance, the next thing to do is decide if I enjoyed that lifestyle enough to seek out that same lifestyle or something similar. Or do I set out on a whole new adventure? Also, be resolute in the present. You know, be happy with what you have right now. Where I live right now lets me breathe a little financially. More important, there the lights of my life, my three grandchildren, my children, and my Dad are close by. There is an endless list of reasons I am happy to be right here. But I am sure I do not have the answer yet to my next decision. I will just be okay for awhile not knowing that answer and accept that as my resolve.
So forgive yourself. Then remember that whichever road you took, you made that decision with the best information you had at the time. Bless that time and be grateful. Now, look at the new information and make a new decision. A different choice. And be grateful for where you are in your life today.
Do you have a regret or decision you made that still needs to be worked through?