Yesterday we talked about our “reactions,” and today I want to talk about “regrets.”The prefix “re” means “again” or “to recall,” and “gret” comes from “greter” which means “to weep.” Regret isn’t necessarily anything anyone wants to talk about, but sometimes, for me at least, I believe it’s really helpful to go there. Here’s how I got there.
My friend, Bill, shared a Syracuse University, George Saunders commencement speech with me from 2013. The speaker talked about regretting how he and his classmates treated a girl in 4th grade. Later that evening, as Doug and I were walking around the neighborhood, we went through our list of regrets—yes, we have lists! It was really cathartic for me to say out loud, ” I regret…”
What I found, as I listed these regrets, was that listing them allowed me the opportunity to assess why I made those decisions in the first place and to have self-compassion and forgiveness for why I made them. Look, none of us are perfect, right? Certainly, not me. The second revelation I had was that acknowledging my regrets allowed me to see what I wanted to do going forward; it helped me set goals for the future. And as Saunders said in that commencement speech years ago, “don’t regret not being kind.”
Let’s GO! WE GOT THIS!