Today I disappointed myself.
Don’t worry, it was nothing major, just the mundane kind of disappointment we all experience at least a few times a month – a chance arose that I didn’t leap at quickly enough, and I ended up regretting it. And afterwards, I could feel it overwhelming me.
We’ve all been there before – as we dwell on this minor, unimportant mistake, it ends up swallowing more and more of our time. It consumes our mind, stealing hours away as it sits on our shoulder and niggles at us, sabotaging our work and disturbing our peace of mind. And for what? It’s so unimportant! But because it was so unimportant, we can’t forgive ourselves. We should have done whatever-it-was, and the fact that we couldn’t manage something so simple aggravates us.
A question on a test, a comment to a pretty girl, an ill-thought out joke that ends up insulting a friend, an idea that you never shared until someone else has already thought of it and told everyone…these are all common reasons for regret, and they can swallow us whole.
When this happens, stop. Breathe deeply. Don’t let the regret dig at you until you finally forget about it (except you haven’t forgotten, and you’ll be reminded of it eventually). Instead of running away from the problem, face it. Turn towards it, open your arms, and accept it.
We all do things that we end up regretting, and the more interesting and exciting life you lead, the more mistakes you’ll make. And that’s fine. It’s only when we let these silly little mistakes consume us and prevent us from enjoying our lives that they become truly regretful. Just breath deeply and embrace it. Only then will you get over it.
Bonus points: this works for the big disappointments too, it’s just going to take more time.
P.S. My short break from editing is over, so expect more writing-focused posts in the near future. Probably. We’ll see what I feel like writing tomorrow.