I read this and hear Frank Sinatra singing “Regrets, I’ve had a few…”
but I also hear Edith Piaf “Je no regretted rien…”
Would I want to relive the week? No, but I do want to learn from it.
These two singers represent two extremes of looking back. My mind turned to regret. It’s too easy to look back with regret and from there to judge ourselves harshly. It’s a long way from self acceptance.
But how do we learn if we don’t look back on the past? And how do we do that if we don’t examine the past critically? I know from working in schools how important it is that children learn to accept responsibility for their actions and to accept responsibility for the consequences. It seems to me that it’s crucial to distinguish between regret and accepting responsibility, learning from our actions and moving on.
I’m in the fortunate position of not working full-time and so am in the process of changing old patterns and making choices in this new set of circumstances.
Now, I have clear priorities and I know the things that matter to me. Do I always do these things? Do my days fit my imagined ideal? No, of course not. I’m human and therefore I am not perfect.
In the last twelve months I’ve spent a lot of time recovering and settling, reflecting and dreaming, making lists and not doing what’s on them,…and yes, I’ve fallen into times of self – criticism,those moments of “I should have…” One of the lessons I keep on learning is to trust and accept myself, whatever state I’m in, to get rid of judgement. I don’t find that easy. Perhaps it’s another human paradox that we must balance acceptance with change, that is, changing the habits and patterns that no longer serve us.
I’m learning that if I leave exercising until late in the day, I probably won’t do it. I’m trying things out- when’s the best time to write? How do I juggle the cleaning, the cooking…all the demands that maintain one’s life? How do I manage what must be done with what I most want to do?
The best way for me to discover what works best is to look over the past week and reflect on it. When did I do the most significant things? What worked? When did time slip away from me? Benjamin Franklin used to start the day with the question “What good can I do today?” and end it with “What good have I done today?”
My gut feel is that as I spend time in the evening being grateful, then the shape of the days will come.
Relive the week? Relive the past? No thank you! But reflect on it? Yes. Learn from it? Yes.
And never give up, never give up, never give up.
I’d really like to know what you think.