An ancient wisdom that has resonated for generations is that when you reach your darkest hour, all is not gloom and doom. You can truly shine. It may sound cliche, but it’s not that the feeling of being ashamed is welcomed or appropriate, it’s a necessary key to open pathways and let go- to start afresh on a new soul journey.
John Jerryson, a banker, came to the awareness that he had lived all his life opposite to his true desires. His dreams and his passions all wasted away when he chose to follow the security of a steady, “safe” 9-7 job. A sleep, eat, and work pattern consumed all energy and precious time of the once robust, energetic, and innovative soul. He strived towards reaching corporate career ladder heights, leaving behind his family, friends, ambitions, and passion. It’s a painful regret for him, but he turned out to realize the greatest lesson in life. He even shared his story on the internet and wanted to remind others about the most important things in life.
The Benefits of Shame
People usually avoid shame even when it is warranted. However, there can be benefits to shame. Think of it this way. To have an ability of self-reflection to review your own mistakes and analyze how a better path is possible is common wisdom.
The general tendency is for people to fail to accept the consequences of their actions. Take a trip down memory lane into childhood. Remember the wagging fingers with voices droning on about learning lessons as you rolled your eyes? That reaction was not mere parental frustration. Admitting failure is a step toward maturity. No one likes to feel depressed, but all of us can recall the embarrassment from our wrong doings. Maybe we are just pieces on a chessboard in the game of life. We are moving ourselves, and sometimes we make mistakes that we have to live with.
Psychology Today defines regret as “a negative cognitive/emotional state that involves blaming ourselves for a bad outcome, feeling a sense of loss or sorrow at what might have been or wishing we could undo a previous choice that we made.”
On the life path of battling our fears and seeking to be courageous, mistakes will invariably be made. We make decisions that are wrong. We misunderstand. Sometimes we suffer serious consequences and deal with the aftermath of disappointment. Regret erodes our efforts to achieve our aspirations.
The Consistency In Regret
The three areas of life about which there is the most regret are education, romance, and career. People are haunted by what could have been or should have been according to a meta-analysis. It is well known that people regret things that they did not do more than the things they did do. People regret actions immediately after they happen, but as time passes ideally they undergo psychological immunity by learning from mistakes.
Rejoicing In Regret
Being ashamed is not about being sorry for your existence. Rather it is a quiet reflection with a gradual resolution to take a differing action in a similar circumstance the next time. Seeking true enlightenment is not about running away from your vulnerabilities or camouflaging them to put up a confident image to impress others. It is a moment of stillness from normal life, shutting out the sounds of ego, and focusing on vulnerabilities.
We are unique in our visualization of opportunities, but what we all have in common is that when an opportunity has passed us by we all lament, “I wish I had pursued what I wanted”; “I should have seized the opportunity- taken the chance”; “I could have used my talents or skills”; “I wish I had not been afraid to follow my dreams”.
It is never too late to learn from experiences and seize opportunities awaiting us. Do not fear making mistakes. Embrace the learning curve and lay out a new life map.