A ChoiceNov. 14, 2021
Have you ever heard someone ask: “Will I regret this later?”
Imagine a friend, trying to decide:
- Should we start our child in school now, or wait a year?
- Should we buy the larger house? Or "make do" for a while.
- Should I take that new position in another department?
- Should I bring up that sensitive topic with my friend?
Will I regret it later?
My response is: “I don’t know. Will you?”
For many people, the experience of having regret is a sensation that seems to happen to them. I didn’t choose it, I just felt it!
But what if regret is a learned response, one that with attention and practice you can unlearn?
What if regret is a choice, a response you’ve learned to select when the conditions are just so? What if regret is a choice in which you blame yourself, and see yourself as powerless at the same time?
If so, then it’s reasonable to imagine that you could learn to respond another way, as well.
What if you could see the situation differently? What if you could recognize your contribution without blaming yourself? What if you could acknowledge how much power you have to change your situation or move on? What if you could teach yourself to respond in other ways when a decision doesn’t work out?
- With genuine sadness – That didn’t work out so well, and I’m really disappointed about it.
- With fascination – wow. That sure didn’t go the way I thought it might. I guess there’s something to learn here.
- With curiosity – hmm. Look at all the warning signs I missed! I wonder why that happened.
Regret is not an emotion. It’s an experience grounded in a perspective. And perspectives don't happen to us. We create them.
So the next time you wonder, will I regret this later?, remember: the choice is up to you!