“Never look back unless you are planning to go that way.” ― Henry David Thoreau
Do you remember that time when you were really excited about this concert happening in your city, and you had a class so you felt morally obligated to attend that and give the concert a miss? Do you remember what happened after that when your friends posted pictures of the concert on every social networking website there is? You sat in the corner of your room with lights off and cried and abused every single person who witnessed the concert. That’s a minor example of regret. This example came from my own life, and I finally concluded that nothing good ever comes out of not following your heart. Regrets are a regular feature with risk averse people if I may say so. That’s because they’re so skeptical about everything that they would avoid most things that do them and suffer the apparent bad outcomes. Regrets are consequences of perceptions and belief system of a person.
Whenever you think doing something may be a mistake despite of every inch of your body screaming against it and you decide to quit? That’s when you take your first step on the path of regret. It might as well be a good choice. But from my personal experience, for most of the times, it won’t be. When the gamble’s bigger and there are greater things at risk, there’s always an equal chance of your decision causing you relief or turning into regret. But even if you choose to play safe, there’s always a reasonable explanation attached to it. But when there isn’t much you have to lose and you still choose to be at the safe side, in all likelihood, you’re developing good grounds for regret to set in. The thing about regrets is, that all the really major regrets in your life are a result of things you didn’t do. Of all the times you chose to be sensible and not follow your heart. Mistakes lead to regrets too, but never as big as those that are born out of ignorance.
When I had to pick subjects for my 11th grade, my dad and I differed in our views. He wanted me to take some other subjects and I myself wanted to take some other subjects, so there was a slight conflict due to difference of opinion. Not that he or I were wrong, we were both right to take the stands we did but then his viewpoint was based on numbers and facts, and mine was based purely on my interest. The only way I managed to convince him was by telling him that I wouldn’t regret the choice I make despite of the outcome, good or bad, I’m ready to face it head on. I told him I didn’t want to blame him if I wasn’t happy later on. And the regret would be far greater if at all if it was there if I were to go by the decision you’re making on my behalf. Regrets are bitterer if they’re a result of following someone else’s advice or going by their words. Even though ultimately the decision of following that person’s advice is also entirely made by you, but we all tend to shift blame wherever we can. If you go by your own instinct, at least you have the mental satisfaction of doing as you pleased. There’s always that ‘I did what I wanted to’ justification that you can offer yourself as well as everyone else you chooses to criticize your decision.
There are people who often say they’ve no regrets in life. What they actually mean is that they did whatsoever they felt like, however good or bad the outcome may have been, they’ve never the suffered the consequences of someone’s else decision. They’ve not had to carry someone else’s weight on their shoulders. They can proudly that they’ve lived life on their own terms, unafraid and untamed, not over thinking the consequences of their actions. In short, what they really mean is that they have never had to wonder ‘what could have been’. And I think that’s a very comfortable position to be in. Not that never even for a moment when their decisions went bad, they didn’t wonder what if they had done the opposite. Of course, they do. There’s always a moment of confusion before you make a decision, but then there’s assurance of clarity on the road ahead. And at best, you would get to learn something. Not that I’m completely promoting the idea of do what you want, say what you feel. You need to think. We’re blessed with brains for a simple reason, and its good to make use of that. There is always a need for some sense of responsibility towards other people and objects because you don’t really live secluded from the world, and your actions tend to affect those around you. But you cannot sit down and weigh the pros and cons of everything every time. So keep calm, chill out and don’t regret. When holding on doesn’t do you any good, why not let go?