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First of all, there are two forms of regret: the intelligent one (in which you realize the shit you’ve done to yourself) and the dumb one (in which you’re producing guilt). We’re talking here about the second one. The first one is way more complex than just a blog post.
Regretting something – in the form of creating and maintaining guilt – is another form of not accepting reality. What can you do about it now? It’s gone. It doesn’t exist anymore. Holding back to your past actions, keeping those strings attached, will make you move slower and slower, until you’ll stop for good.
In their guilt-creating form, regrets are killing you from the inside. Literally. Guilt is a disease that consumes your self-esteem to the point you’re unable to function anymore. It’s a cancer. It grows in your head first, and then it spreads in the muscles, in the bones, on the skin. Feeling guilt is saying to yourself you’re not good enough. You screwed things up and the world will crucify you forever. You’ll have to pay for that for as long as you’ll live. And from the moment you succumb to these thoughts, it all starts to spiral down and you’re doing all sort of “reparations”, trying to please everybody, to dissolve your personality to the point of no return.
I’m not saying you should be a dick and not regret your stupid stuff. But the difference between intelligent regret and guilt is enormous.
Intelligent regret identifies a flaw in your past behavior, accept it, integrates it and then ends with the resolution to avoid that stuff from now on. Whereas guilt is in fact rejecting the result, it doesn’t integrate it at all and keeps you in the same space of your stupid stuff for ever, pushing you to punish yourself over and over and over again.
Those penitences are trying to make you believe that you’ll recreate the past somehow.
Well, you won’t. Because you can’t. You did what you did and that’s that. You can’t go back anymore so accept it and move forward. All you have now is your life and the current second.
This is all that you can change: your present moment. Not yesterday, not tomorrow. Now. Live now.