IT is amazing how time flies. Looking back one is amazed that the year will end in a few weeks. Time really flies but in the process many things happen. Like they say many waters have gone under the bridge. In the course of the year we have all encountered a myriad of events and emotions. We have had encounters good and bad. In the course of the year our response and reaction to people, government, situation and circumstances have directly or indirectly resulted in where we have found ourselves at this time. The palatable encounters have contributed to our successes, progress, joy and fulfilment and the not so palatable ones have been the source of our regret.
These issues we encountered in the course of the year do not get buried when the year ends. The year might end but the events and issues of the year will still linger on and have an effect on us forever. The way we handle and deal with the issues in the outgoing year, whether negative or positive, will have a major role to play in the years to come. We must take time out to deal with the issues and handle them well.
We can either live in the shadow of the past or we can use them as stepping stones to have a better life. The year is almost gone and we must understand that once it’s gone, it is dead. The past is dead, the present is alive and the future is about to be born. It is amazing that the dead, many times, tends to control and adversely influence that which is alive and that which is not yet born. The past seems to wield more power and influence in the lives of most people than it ought to have.
When you have had a terrible, traumatic or bad past it has the tendency to bring pressure, pain and pangs of regret into the present. It tends to cast a dark shadow on the affairs of future.
A bad past carries with it unpleasant memories which kills the joy of the present. The memory of a bad past always leaves a bitter taste in the mouth. It makes one to recoil in fear and regret. It saps the energy needed to keep going in the present and this is a good way to mortgage one’s future on the altar of depression and discouragement.
The good news, however, is that the fact that where we have failed, messed up or fallen down in the past does not mean we cannot still make it. We can and we will still make it. We must put the past where it belongs – in the past. Whatever has happened has happened and hitting ourselves in the head is not simply shooting ourselves in the foot.
Like they say, there is no point crying over spilt milk. If the milk is spilt and we still have our glass, let us thank God and move on so we can get milk again. If the milk is spilt and the glassware is also broken, well let us count our losses and make plans to acquire new glassware and get milk to fill it up. If we do not wake up to the reality of the fact that there is no point crying over spilt milk we will wallow unnecessarily in regret. We cannot change the past. Let bygone be bygone. Not handling the past right and misjudging it denies us the joy of the present and kills the hope of the future.
Let us learn from our mistakes – only a fool makes the same mistake twice.
For some the year has been quite good to them. If you have had a measure of success in the year, then, build on it and move on – there is still a lot of ground for you to conquer.
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Giving undue consideration to the past will blind us from seeing the opportunities that are in our present which are the tools we need to create the ideal future we desire. The past is gone and gone for good so pick up the pieces and make the most of today.
“Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing.” Isaiah 43:18, 19
TURNING BACK THE CLOCK?
At a time like this when people take stock of the year many emotions are evoked . . . joy, peace, fulfilment, sadness, fear, pain and regret. Regret seems to be a more predominant emotion at the end of the year. Many people wish if they had the power they would have changed things . . . they would have loved to turn back the clock and make amends.
There is no such thing as a life without any regrets. We have all done some things that, on looking back, we regret. There were things said which ought not to have been said. There were things which ought to have been said but were not said. There were things which ought to be said but were said at the wrong time and in the wrong way. There were places which ought not to have been visited but which we frequented. There were relationships which we ought not to have cultivated but which we nurtured and cherished.
We all have situations and circumstances that if given a second chance we will handle differently. If only we can turn back the clock, we think many times, but unfortunately regret can never turn back the clock.
“In history as in human life, regret does not bring back a lost moment and a thousand years will not recover something lost in a single hour.”
If regret cannot turn back the clock, then, it is futile to want to live in regret.
“Regret is an appalling waste of energy, you can’t build on it – it’s only good for wallowing in.” Katherine Mansfield
Regret is a bitter pill we can always refuse to swallow. Living in regret is exhibiting and living with negative emotions. Living life under the shadow of regret is like being sentenced to a life imprisonment of bitterness, anger and frustration. Living in regret burns the bridge that will take us from the past to the future.
We must leave the dark shadow of the pains, sorrows and regret of yesterday behind. We must get over our disappointment, sorrows, and failures and get healed of the pain of regret. Regret need not become burdens that interfere with our present happiness. We need not allow regret to restrict our ability to dream of and create our desired future. Regret is a potent tool that kills the motivation to move forward in life. Regret will always want us to look back and we cannot move forward and look back at the same time.
“When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.” Alexander Graham Bell
If we do not deal with regret decisively it will make us regress and ruin our future. “Regret looks back. Worries look around. Vision looks up” John Mason
The good news is that we can deal with, handle and overcome regrets. The first step in this direction is to remove the veil from our face so we can see clearly. Regret blindfolds people so they cannot see things with a rational mind.
We must step back, step out and take a dispassionate view of our predicament. What exactly is the problem? What exactly has brought us to where we are now? What are the events of the year that has led to the regret of today?
We cannot afford to look at what we are going through sentimentally. When life deals a bad blow on us the luxury of being emotional is too expensive. We have to get ourselves together and have a good look at the facts on ground. When we give too much precedence to our emotional feelings we stand the risk of having a distorted view of our situation.
Regret does not change the clock but it can make our clock to stop working completely. Many people who are caught in the web of regret, many times, get to the point when they no longer take responsibility for their lives.
We cannot move forward in life – moving from the dark shadows of yesterday into the glorious future ahead of us if we let regret stop our clock from ticking.
Yes, get angry, get moody, cry, moan but pull yourself together and move on – you still have your whole life ahead of you.
Forgive yourself, forgive those who put you in the mess, forgive the society that facilitated your adversity.
If you cannot help yourself then seek help.