Regret is Important for Growth, but so is Forgiving Yourself for the Past

We are complicated creatures with feelings and actions we can’t always control, but we must always take responsibility.

Austin Harvey
Mind Cafe

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Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

First, a thought experiment: Think back to a moment you regret. What’s the first thing that comes to mind? I used to envy the few people who could answer that question and say, “nothing.”

As a constant over-thinker, an anxious depressive with ADHD, I’m used to my brain being a swirling whirlwind of thoughts. Imagine a computer with an administratively locked folder on the desktop called “regrets” that can’t be deleted and contains a slideshow of still frames taken moments before an awful disaster, all of which cycle through as desktop wallpapers at random intervals; you never know which will pop up next.

Surely, it would be better to have a still landscape of a field that never changes, right?

Then, I noticed a trend with the Regretless: they never grow up. Maybe it’s confidence, or maybe it’s bullheadedness, but people who have no regrets seem awfully impulsive and cocksure, don’t they?

In a post-YOLO world (and a post-post carpe diem one), regret is like sitting down to eat head cheese. If you’ve never had head cheese…

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Austin Harvey
Mind Cafe

Writer, editor, and podcast host. Currently a staff writer at All That's Interesting. Host of History Uncovered and Conspiracy Realists.