Learn from Regrets
“Guilt and regret are not the same thing.
Regret can be instructive, while guilt is only debilitating.”
~Neale Donald Walsh
I have a dear friend who at age 90 is faced with a difficult decision of whether or not to have a second surgery.
Almost a year ago, while getting up during the night to use the bathroom, my friend fell and fractured her femur, the long bone in her leg. She had surgery immediately following the fracture, however the healing of the bone has not progressed as expected, and her orthopedic surgeon is encouraging her to now have a second surgery.
As my friend considers her options, she laments using the familiar shoulda, coulda, woulda, and if only scenarios :
“I shoulda used my walker.”
“I coulda turned on the light.”
“If only I had held onto the sink.”
Then, she asks me, “What would you do?”
I really dislike this question because how can I know what I would do? I am not 90 years old, and I have not broken my femur. So instead of answering her question, I said, “Please don’t feel guilty for what you shoulda, coulda, or if only you woulda done something different.
A wise mentor of mine, in my earlier years, taught me to live my life without regrets. So, I encouraged my friend to let go of any guilt she was experiencing and ask herself, "What might I regret if I do not have surgery? What might I regret if I do have surgery?" I believe considering any regrets she might encounter either way will be beneficial in making her decision.
Chances are you will experience a few regrets in your lifetime, just don’t beat yourself up and wallow in guilt, shame, or embarrassment over your decisions. Every experience comes to you for a reason. If you find yourself regretting something, ask your self what you learned from the experience. Reframing the guilt into a learning experience creates positive energy rather that depleting it.