We've all heard this a million times, right? You "accidentally" pushed someone on the play ground when you were a kid, "say you're sorry," comes flying out of your mother's mouth... Saying you are sorry and actually feeling sorry are two very different things but I think it's safe to say that the latter is highly encouraged, praised even, and an incredibly healthy part of life. Okay both are healthy, the saying it as well as feeling it.
I thought about my post yesterday, No Regrets, a lot today. One simple time, singular, who knows for what reason why time, I was shamed into feeling bad for having regrets and ever since then I've been trying my darnedest to regret nothing. In truth, I've also always been VERY bad at saying sorry. I am such a perfectionist that saying sorry is intensely painful to me. It means that I am a failure... No, it feels to me that I'm a failure.
Saying sorry does not mean that I'm a failure. It means that I messed up, made a bad decision, actually more times then not it means that I made a mistake. That's not me being a failure. That's me making a mistake. If you read yesterday's post then you see the same thing at play here, I'm a perfectionist. I should never make mistakes. Wait, perfection is unattainable. Being a perfectionist is like living inside a delicate beautiful bubble in a world covered in sharp pieces of broken glass. The bubble is going to pop, and pop often.
Now, back to regrets because I've been thinking about this all day. Saying I'm sorry, being sorry, feeling sorry is a good thing. We're supposed to feel bad when we've wronged someone. We're supposed to let the wronged individual know that we're remorseful (we're supposed to be remorseful). In fact the Bible talks about repentance all the way through. So why are we told that we're not supposed to be remorseful about bad decisions that we've made in life that led us down the wrong path? When we've done something that's hurtful to ourselves we're not supposed to be sorry? Is it because we're now stuck on that path (or feel stuck on that path) so we're to "have no regrets" and just embrace the new path?
My old way of thinking: have no regrets. If I've done something wrong, made a mistake, taken a wrong turn just go with it, shake off the feeling of remorse (or bury it at least/ ignore it/ pretend it's not there). Regrets are bad. Regrets are weak. Regrets are something to be ashamed of. Don't look back.
My new way of thinking (and what a tiny voice inside of me has been saying for a very long time): regrets are a normal part of life. If I've done something wrong, made a mistake, taken a wrong turn I need to acknowledge the failure (NOT that I'm a failure) and right the wrong or at least forgive myself for it. Regrets can be used constructively. You can't put back together a delicate bubble that's been popped by sharp pieces of broken glass but you can find a better way to travel through a land of shards and sometimes broken things can be glued back together if you don't try and sweep them under the rug (talking about all the metaphorical glass that I had laying all over everything in the perfectionist's world, not the bubble. I've never successfully glued a bubble back together.).
NO SPEND day number two for the month. So far so good.