Don’t be clouded by regret

“Regrets, I’ve had a few, but then again, too few to mention,” sang Frank Sinatra in his version of the song written by Paul Anka.

While many artists have sung the song, my favorite version is Elvis Presley’s version and not just because I would be disowned by my own mother if I didn’t say that.

When we go back and look at our lives, we all have things we wished would have turned out better, but to say we have regrets — maybe the word regret might be too strong a word to use in most instances.

Many of us second-guess decisions we have made in our lives, and for the most part, second-guessing is no more than hindsight — which we know is 20/20.

I know in my life there have been many things that, if I had a do-over, might choose a different route, but to say I regretted it — I think may be a little strong.

With every turn and with every person we meet along life’s path, we learn and we grow.

I can say without a doubt, there isn’t one person I ever regretted meeting because I have learned a lot from everyone I have met — both good things and not so good things. 

In reality, how much would we know and have learned about ourselves if it weren’t for the trials and tribulations we’ve faced every day or through the experiences we face with others? Probably not very much.

So, to say I regret this or that would be saying I regretted the personal growth and learning process and I don’t — in fact, I have always welcomed new learning and growing experiences.

Those who force themselves to live with regret often overburden themselves with things they cannot change, thereby making it difficult to be happy in the here and now.

My favorite definition of the word regret is “sorrow aroused by circumstances beyond one’s power to control or power to repair.”

Something “beyond one’s power to control or power to repair” — that says a lot.

If it is outside of my square, meaning outside my power to have any control over the outcome, then why should I regret it? I can only control one thing — me.

Now, I may be sorry the outcome was not different, but I wouldn’t say I regretted it.

I have known many people who live with regret and none of them seem to be very happy — always feeling like they missed out on something.

With me, I have always had one rule I live by — say what you have to say, do what you have to do, then move on.

It works for me and seems to take away the need to regret anything in the future, because it is something I do have control over and can only blame myself for any sorrow that comes from it.

But, I would not regret it.

Many do not like my philosophy: “I don’t burn bridges, I just don’t go back across them.”

Burning bridges is never good for the soul, but one has control over not going back across it — without regret.

Live not in constant sorrow of things out of your control, but make the best of today, tomorrow and the future so you won’t have to live in the regret of yesterday.

New Zealand’s most famous writer, Katherine Mansfield, who died in 1923, said it best, I believe.

“Regret is an appalling waste of energy; you can’t build on it; it’s only good for wallowing in.”

Never look back in regret, when you can always find a way to shine in the future.