I was hanging out with my good mate Matt earlier this year. We had just been to the supermarket to buy food for a yummy dinner. I really wanted to make my killer rockling fish dish but they didn’t any so we bought barramundi instead.
We were on this gorgeous sunny winter’s day walk along the bay. As we turned the corner we came to a massive fish market. We had completely forgotten that it was close to us.
We stopped, looked at it, looked at each other knowing we were both thinking; ‘Oh bummer, we could have got the fish here’. Matt then says to me; ‘Let’s just regret that for a minute’. Bahaha. So good.
I love that we can give ourselves permission to regret something. But staying in regret would be like becoming the albino priest in the Da Vinci Code where he spends many of his nights in his concrete cell/bedroom literally whipping himself for his sins. We often do this with ourselves emotionally. If I keep telling myself what a poor friend I am, what a poor decision I made or even punish myself for my lack of confidence – surely that will be helpful? Yeah nah.
It seems ridiculous when you think about it like that. Where are you hanging in ‘regretisis’ (a made up condition by me) at the moment?
My friend Peter Cook, often says to play one song and spend the whole song in regret, shame or whatever you need to be in to whip yourself for your poor decisions, actions or words. Then learn from it and move on.
When Obama was asked after 8 years in office and thousands of decisions made what his biggest regrets were he was clear on them; not planning the intervention the day after the Lybia attack, not being able to implement sufficient gun safety laws and not closing Guantanamo Bay prison. While he regrets he doesn’t live there. He focuses on what he could have done better should he be in that position again. And moves on.
I think you see the lesson.