I saw this post on Facebook saying that we should have no regrets:
I liked the sound of this then I thought that it’s not quite right, not quite balanced. Being ashamed and regretting stuff is not so bad. Without regret there is no repentance, restitution, reconciliation or reinvention.
Too much regret can be paralysing but without it there is no incentive to reflect and change direction. Regret is like a mirror, you don’t need to be looking at it all the time but you can use it to help you adjust stuff.
As Homer Simpson says “why keep beating yourself up about something you have done? Beat yourself once, and then move on!”
Looking back over my life and the three and a half years since I left work I realise how many mistakes I’ve made and how much time I’ve wasted and I have regrets. But I also realise that I have no need to define myself by my mistakes, if I do then it is impossible to move on and the mistakes persist.
There are times when I feel very inadequate, when I beat myself up over not meeting expectations whether those are my own or someone else’s. I don’t know how I compare to others in this as I considers myself ‘mostly happy’ while I perceive that so many are not.
Maybe I am only ‘mostly happy’ because I am and have been living in accordance with the expectations of others. Certainly I have over many years, my whole life, allowed myself to be too bothered by what others say to and about me. I react to their shit and mess up my own direction. In saying this I’m not blaming others, it’s my reaction that’s the problem; most people have more shit to deal with than I do, my life so far has been pretty easy and I think I have as much good as I deserve. No, I have more than I deserve; maybe not a lot more but certainly more so I have no sense that life has been unfair to me.
My destiny has always been to be a teacher and I have been a teacher whether in my incarnation as a school teacher or as a youth worker or in other roles. In this I have succeeded and failed at the same time. This was brought home to me in a conversation with a young woman who attended, who was a key member of, one of my groups almost fifteen years ago. She had done some stuff that I considered bad, disrespectful and disloyal to me. I wrote her a strong letter and she left. I valued her and she valued me but we essentially ‘broke up’. She told me she still had the letter. She told me how much she valued the group, that it had more meaning to her than her school and that she felt lost when she left. I realised both the value of what I had given and my own failure to properly deal with whatever lack of sensitivity or rudeness that she was expressing. As a teacher I should have dealt with my own reactions and hers in a non-egoistical way. I did not and I still do not in other contexts. Essentially it is a lack of maturity, wisdom.
Wisdom is not getting angry and not reacting harshly, negatively, whether this negativity is directed at someone who has upset me or at myself. It is being able to guide the other, to respond without ego attachment. That is what a true teacher is. That is where I have failed others and myself and that is where I most need to change.