I don’t like to feel regret. It is the worst feeling and there is nothing I can do about it.
I tend to just suppress these feelings, ignore them and try to bury them but we all know this is not a good system.
I visit a hospice patient every Wednesday after work and last week, I came up with a solution as I listened to him.
He is a brilliant 88 year-old man suffering from Parkinson’s. I always enjoy our conversations and always learn a lot from him. But he does have that tendency to always welcome me with everything that went wrong and all the things he regrets he didn’t do or had to do or wished he had done. I listened to him as he spelled out his list of regrets.
When he looked up for my reply, I just said that I noticed he had a lot of regrets and we should get rid of them together. Here is how: we spell out a regret like,
“I should have married ” and then say it again and let it go. Out the window (he lives on the 16th floor).
And the same with “I should have had children” – out the window.
and “I should have kept my apartment in DC,” and ” If I had just started to exercise earlier my condition would have been better now,” and ” If I was diagnosed earlier, I would have more years of the right medications.”
We threw them out his window one by one and we both felt a relief. Enough already with this self-hate called regret.
Just throw it out.