[ 4 min read ]
There is no doubt in my mind that a regret comes from an erroneous assumption that had you done B instead of A everything would be fine now. That you wouldn’t have had all these troubles, worries, problems, etc. (or that you wouldn’t have them today).
As I wrote earlier, this is a wishful thinking. Such assumption is ridiculous and naive to say the least. It’s stupid.
He would live.
I would be a happy person.
She wouldn’t have ended up on the streets.
We would be a happy family.
The company would still operate.
We would be rich.
None of it is true. Or, to put it differently, all of it is just one possibility (out of many). But it doesn’t stop people from believing that the reality would be better, that their lives (or the lives of their loved ones) would be better. They assume that alternative shit wouldn’t have happened. Which clearly is a wishful thinking. It’s a one big fucking lunacy!
People don’t realize it, because, in their lunacy, they truly believe that everything would have been (would be) better. The only scenario that they see (the only alternative to what really happened) is the favorable scenario for them. They believe everything would be just fine in their lives had their choices been different.
A regret means that we beat ourselves up for screwing up and that we believe that had we not screwed up today we wouldn’t have all these troubles, worries, problems, etc. In other words, we could live a “normal life”. The assumption among people (what the majority of people believe) is that “normal life” is a life without troubles, worries, problems, etc. That having troubles, worries, problems, etc. is an indication that we don’t live a normal life. Which is a flawed thinking, because it is based on the wrong assumption that shit (stuff we didn’t want / unfortunate events) shouldn’t be part of our lives. But whether we like it or not shit was, is and always will be part of our lives. Because such is the true nature of life. People who say that they don’t have a “normal life” don’t understand the nature of life. They’re nothing but lunatics. We’re all are them (lunatics) one way or another, but to think that life shouldn’t present us with challenges, that there shouldn’t be unfortunate events, pain, suffering, is an indicator that the person in question never pondered what it means to live and what is the nature of life. That this person is in the business of repeating dumb clichés after other people and that he or she lets inertia run the show.
To have regrets also means that we assume that we could have known better / behaved differently. That we had a choice and we screwed up. How could we have been so stupid?
The truth is however that we never want to screw up on purpose, do something that will get us into trouble, etc. We always either don’t think at all (are driven by some impulse which we couldn’t have controlled anyway — after the fact we believe that we could have controlled it but it’s just not true, the moment of this reflection is not the moment when we did what we did, so for this simple reason it’s a flawed thinking that we could have done it differently, the comparison is useless), or we assume that what we’re about to do can’t get us into trouble, or, if there is a chance that we will get ourselves into trouble, the risk of it is negligible, or that we can rely on our luck, power, connections, etc.
Often it’s a mix of an impulse and these assumptions. It has to be, otherwise we would never be able to make any decision. It would be some crazy loop of thoughts which would lead nowhere. If we made a choice (any choice) it means we had analysed the situation and chosen the course of action that will get us closer to our desired outcome. But, since we don’t know the future and can’t predict the exact outcomes of all our actions and choices some actions and choices will not bring us closer to our desired outcome.
We aren’t crazy — we don’t make decisions with the intention of hurting ourselves. Even if we do hurt ourselves on purpose (attempt to kill ourselves, injure or mutilate ourselves) we do it because we believe this will do us good — death will be better than living, mutilation is something we deserve for what we are like / what we did, and as a form of punishment it should ease our suffering).
Of course, we can try to be better next time. We can decide that we will gain awareness, that we will work on ourselves, that we will not let other people provoke us, that we will do certain things in order to avoid being driven merely by an impulse. We can do all that. And it’s a good idea to do it — we will have less things we can later regret. But to assume that one change (B instead of A, A instead of B) could make all the difference in your life, especially that it all would be perfect is ludicrous, childish even. As I wrote earlier, if one piece of the entire giant jigsaw puzzle (your life) could have been different, why not the rest of it? Why assume that you would even exist in the first place? Why assume you wouldn’t have been killed sooner? Why assume that your parents wouldn’t have died in a plane crash when you were two years old? If we allow the thought that one thing could have been different the entire thing could have gone differently. Hence never again will I see regrets as something reasonable. Almost everything about them is wrong. They’re unreasonable — they stem from wrong assumptions and wishful thinking, and the alternative reality which we paint in our heads is thus flawed. It’s just one of a gazillion possible scenarios, including the one in which we wouldn’t even exist.