We all make mistakes from time to time. None of us are perfect. All of us are human. We often forget this and feel alone in our decisions and the subsequent feelings around those decisions. But you’re not alone. These “mistakes” are actually blessings in disguise, opportunities to learn and grow and become more steadfast along our higher paths.
A core psychological purpose of regret, guilt, and shame is to make a lasting impression in our minds so that we don’t make similar mistakes in the future. Once we recognize the mistake, learn the lesson, and set ourselves on a healthier course going forward, those emotions are no longer useful and become, instead, ways of beating ourselves up. It’s important to remember that whatever we did or said, however things turned out—it was all supposed to be this way, for everyone’s lessons, and this is indeed an opportunity to enhance our higher paths. You regretting what happened, as though a different path was right or supposed to be, is just you getting in the way of reality, and resisting the flow. There is only one right, and so there is no wrong. There is Not Two—only one, and it’s called What Is. This is the path that the Universe intended, the opportunity that it’s giving us to learn and grow, regardless of how it might seem right now, favorable or unfavorable. Sometimes, WE must be the catalyst for the Universe’s intended lessons; sometimes the path is difficult or unclear, but THIS path, as the Tao Te Ching puts it, is always a movement toward perfection.
This is not to say that we should not apologize or admit our mistakes when we’re wrong. We must! But this is all part of the lesson. Once you get the lesson and are ready to move forward with greater perspective and deeper awareness, it’s important take yourself “off the hook” and to forgive yourself. Whatever the lesson, acknowledge it when you got it! You understand why this happened now, why you had to make that decision—all of it was in order to learn what you’re learning and for others involved to get the lessons they needed. And so, it was never actually a mistake—it was the intended path. Your regret or shame helped you realize this, and now it’s time for you to let those stifling feelings go—they served their purpose. Further regret, guilt, or shame now only serves to harm oneself and becomes an addiction or distraction—a way of masking some of the underlying fear or sadness you’re holding onto around what happened. If you don’t align with the flow of events, if you continue to feel regret or shame or guilt beyond your learning of the lessons, then you’ll exist in a constant state of conflict and resistance. Only by taking yourself off the hook, can you move forward with greater self-awareness, stronger determination to live a healthier life, and the ability to feel the real stuff that you’re feeling deep down about the whole situation.
Learn the lesson. Make amends where necessary. Vow to live a healthier life on a higher path from here on out. This was a wonderful opportunity to gain greater self awareness and learn invaluable lessons. Regret, guilt, and shame can take a seat now… Forgiveness, compassion, and healthy determination stand up. You got this!