We all tell ourselves stories. We repeat the same words in our head or to the people we care.
These can be things that we believe in, or justification of goals we want to achieve. It can be reasons why things are as they are, why they are not different or why they ought to be be different.
As we grow older, we get more experienced, we read more books, we listen to our favorite authors, our friends, or family.
And we build up a system of thinking, a thought framework, around defined constructs, stories.
We tell our friends that we don’t regret this thing we did a long time ago and that led to you being what you are today.
Or we tell ourselves that this behavior that this man/ woman has in unfair. Or that we are not good at languages, or sports. Or that we will never be able to do this or that.
It’s all created from our past experiences. Based on our knowledge and thought framework, we created our truths.
They are the scaffoldings of our mind. They help us judge things, make quicker decisions about our future, better understand other people’s actions. And protect ourselves.
The problem is, these stories are mostly OUR “truths”. They may be correct, or they may be NOT. They may be a stronger, or lighter shade of the actual truth. Or maybe there is no truth and that thing you believe in doesn’t actually matter.
Do you see yourself repeating the same story more than once a month, once a week, or once a day? It’s time to stop, take some distance and question it.
Because most of the time, we can challenge that story. It’s just a mere assumption that may be untrue.
You may actually be excellent at this thing that you’ve been dreaming to do but thought you were not good at. It is not too late to start that martial art you’ve been wanting to do since childhood.
When it comes to regret, the story may be our creation to protect ourselves.
You may well be in denial of your current situation. And it is difficult to accept it.
You might be refusing to accept who you are, what you’ve been through, who you’ve become.
You might be refusing that you didn’t take that path in the parallel decision universe that would have led to your other different life.
Or you might just miss an opportunity because of the limitations of that story.
But the society tells us that regretting is bad. That it’s not politically correct. That we should not regret things. And that if you’re regretting something, you’re a lower person.
The truth is we all regret stuff. And when we don’t accept it, we create a story.
A story, a denial that is a way to refuse to accept the situation as it actually is. And it prevents us from embracing it and creating a better future.
Do we want to live many years of our lives in denial about truths we instinctively believe are not right?
We need to build up the courage to look at things as they are, and create newer, better constructs for our thoughts.
Things can be looked at from a positive perspective. Regrets are based on situations being looked at from a negative standpoint. What was good about that particular situation you’re looking at negatively? What did actually happen? Did nothing positive come out of it looking backwards?
By having the courage and caring to question our story, we can stop our denial and build a better story.
Let’s pause and reflect
From time to time, we might want to ask ourselves:
- What is the thing that we tell ourselves most regularly? Why is that? Is that true? Isn’t there an alternative story that is more accurate?
- What have I told myself that I cannot do, because of X or Y? Is there a way that I can try to do it without long term commitment? And test that hypothesis?
- What am I afraid of? Why? Is there a way that I can challenge it, and pretend for a minute that it is not true?
- What is the thing that everyone thinks and I strongly disagree with? Why is that? Where does that disagreement comes from?