I listened to a great TED talk earlier today. It is actually quite hard to find a bad TED talk, I don’t know from experience there, just have a strong suspicion. There are some that hit me in the heart and/or the soul. The ones that miss a bit are the ones that just hit me in the head agitate a thought process or two and then dissipate away.
The TED talk in question was one on regret. Find yourself something nice to drink and take yourself away for 20 minutes to listen to here. There is a gentle reasoning and an honest self exposure.
You will find it here : Don’t regret regret
There are a few things I am suspicious of when people say them. Statements like “we have never had an argument” from friends or couples that have known each other decades. Or “I always look on the bright side.” I just do not believe them to be true. I don’t believe that the person uttering them is dishonest. I do wonder about delusion though.
In the first example it sounds sterile an absence of growth, stimulation or learning at best. At worst subjugation of one person to another. The second example just logically sounds wrong to me. If you are aware of a bright side, by definition you have an acquaintance, however fleeting, with a dark side. Your glance may be swift and unwilling, you might have decided not to settle on it but you have looked in its direction and chosen to look elsewhere. As a tactic it may serve you well.
Not believing in regret, not allowing yourself regret seems to fit into the same category for me. I can’t comprehend it. I am not suggesting that days of wallowing, of , “I wish I had – or hadn’t” are the best thing in the world. I do think that learning to endure proportionate and honest regret is something we are better for, otherwise how can we learn? And in turn help others learn?
Where does empathy for others come, if we haven’t developed any for ourselves.
Being regretful is to honour something, and or someone, it is to understand something that you didn’t before. To have more information to operate with as you move on.
I also think that having a relationship with regret enhances our ability to handle change as it inevitably arises, at home, at work, all over our lives.
Our lives are hit by change. We age, economies swell and deflate, social mores shift, debates move on, people come and go in our lives. For humans with heart, this will affect us. We will feel it.
Refusing to acknowledge regrets, major or minor seems to me to be clinging to a false image of self of a rock like perfect self.
I don’t believe that it is changes in our lives that leads to regret. I think it is the refusal to engage with change that leads to regret.
Regret is our friend, it changes us from within, if we honour ourselves by feeling it.
“Make the most of your regrets; never smother your sorrow, but tend and cherish it till it comes to have a separate and integral interest. To regret deeply is to live afresh.” Henry David Thoreau
…A separate and integral interest…