Regrets – Should We Have None?

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I had a friend post this on his FB, and I took a few minutes to consider it before making a comment there.

I know it’s hard to read, so here is what it says: “Live the life you want to live, Never be ashamed of anything.  Make decisions, make mistakes.  If you fall at least you fell because you tried.  No regrets, It’s life.”

Here’s what I thought about it.  First:  We should be courageous and undaunted, on that I agree.

Never be ashamed?  Never any regrets?  That’s not healthy or desirable.

Only the most callous and self absorbed people are going to be the ones who have no regrets. We need regrets.  Regrets help us to find the courage to make amends to those we caused pain. They keep us humble in our hopes and plans for the future,  Regret is no worse than shame or embarrassment.

Shame and embarrassment make us hesitate from rushing to judgement and keep us from being too harsh when we see the truth.  Shame comes when we wound someone in a way we didn’t realize or didn’t want to admit would hurt someone else.  Once the action is complete, and we stop to consider what was done – shame lets us know we did something we should have known better than to do.  Shame helps us see what we did as someone outside of us would see it.  Shame reminds us that life isn’t all about US, and that other people matter, too.

The difference between shame and embarrassment is this: Embarrassment is when our pride is wounded, and it’s mostly caused injury only to “me.”  I will feel sad, anxious and concerned and I’ll have to be more humble in front of those who witnessed my embarrassing actions.  Shame comes when I see that I acted as if something was all about me – when it shouldn’t have been.

When we take another treat, knowing someone else hasn’t had their serving yet – and now they will have none – that’s shame.  Sitting on that piece of cake – is embarrassing.  Not sharing the cake to begin with, and then they find out about it and avoid you for awhile as they get over your selfishness – that should bring shame, be regretted, and remembered as a lesson when you encounter any similar situations in the future.  You learn compassion and empathy when you allow regret, shame and even embarrassment to do their work in our hearts, minds, and spirits.

This feels clumsy, but I hope it makes some sense.  The feelings are different, but they are all healthy.  We need them like we need vitamin C or a walk in the park.  They help us to grow and to support others in their growth.

Now, some might think, “You’ve taken this too seriously.  It’s just a Facebook graphic and not meant to be a big deal.”  I would gently disagree.  It’s a philosophical statement, and we click “Like” if we agree with it.  If we feel strongly in our like or dislike, we post a comment.  To just “let it ride” seems superficial and shallow to me.  But, I also believe in tact, not being argumentative or abusing the person who posted the item.

So, I left a few carefully chosen words to say that I disagreed and why:  “We should be courageous and undaunted, on that I agree. I think that only the uncaring arrogant people who are only self absorbed are going to be the only ones who have no regrets. We need regrets to keep us humble for the future, and making amends to those we caused pain. Regret is no worse than shame or embarrassment. They make us hesitate from rushing to judgement and keep us from being too harsh when we see the truth.”

I know that the person who posted the graphic won’t respond, because they dislike using the keyboard.  We’ll see if their followers bring forward any rebuttals.  If so, I love a lively discussion!

What do you think?  Should we have no regrets?  Did I go too far in bringing up embarrassment with the shame in the graphic?  Feedback is welcomed!

Copyright © 2013 Churchmousie ~ all rights reserved

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3 thoughts on “Regrets – Should We Have None?

  1. Hi! Found you from Xanga. Formerly there by the same username. Anyway, I think you hit the nail on the head. Regrets are part of life, to say we have none? Not true. I have yet to meet anyone who doesn’t have some regrets about things they did or didn’t do. I know I do. You’re right, regrets are part of the learning and growing process.

    Nice to find you. I tried to stay up with Xanga, but there’s literally no one there, at least that I can see. they now say my account expired on 9/30, and I don’t see the point of paying for nothing! So, I intend to be more active here.

  2. I really like this and so true-no failures in this path called life-only learning lessons.
    TY so much for finding me here on word press and Ty so much for your beautiful prayers. I appreciate them so very much and also appreciate you.
    Have a wonderful Wednesday

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