53) A Lesson in Regrets

I can’t remember which medical professional made the comment. That’s a common theme lately, not remembering. I seem to have hit my head in the place where the short term memory receptors live. Anyway, it doesn’t matter who said it, the comment itself was what made me think.

“I bet you regret that.”

For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, I had a bad accident 3 months ago. I challenged myself to run the 33km Routeburn track, over mountains passes, alone, in 6 hours. (Normal people hike it over 3 days). I slipped just past the halfway mark, smashed my head off a rock, broke my nose and gave myself an instant concussion. As the mountain does not have phone reception or exits, I then had to get back up, bandage up my nose and run for another 3.5 hours to get myself back to civilisation and a hospital. I have been suffering from a severe concussion ever since.

I can forgive the person for assuming that I regret it, however….I don’t.

I actually don’t have any regrets in life. I used to, but not anymore. There was a time in my life where my regrets were starting to stack up. I could name them all, I would count them down on my fingers and then move onto my toes. It put a sour taste in my mouth when I thought of them, I would blush with embarrassment at how silly I had been.

Then one day I realised that each regret was unique. I hadn’t repeated the mistakes. I stopped viewing them as regrets and started seeing them as lessons. Suddenly the biggest regrets of my life became the greatest lessons I had learnt. The relationship mishaps and blunders of the past that led me to treat my relationship with Gerry differently, the work situations that taught me when to stand up for myself.

Not all of them were so trivial. Some took a lot more searching to find the lesson hidden beneath. Did you know that we are psychologically conditioned to pay more attention to the negative than to the positive when it comes to ourselves? That awful thing that happened to you? The universe probably tried to tell you nicely but maybe you didn’t listen.

The regrets I couldn’t find lessons in made me look beyond the event itself, how did I deal with the aftermath? I survived. I made it out the other side. I am stronger than I realised. That’s the lesson the universe needs you to know sometimes. You can do this.

Here’s the main thing about regrets; you can regret them all you like, but there’s no changing them. You can’t undo what’s already done. You can get a sour taste and blush when you think of them or you can make the most of them.

Think of your biggest regret. Now rephrase it in your head as a lesson. I bet that tastes a lot better.

It takes time but our biggest regrets can become our greatest lessons and sometimes, looking back at the bigger picture, our most important blessings.

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