Tag Archives: regrets

"No Regrets"

I’m not sure if this is unique to my generation or not, but I’ve found that it is really unpopular to admit to having regrets.  I remember the last semester I was in high school, we were having a discussion in English class about the book Tuesdays with Morrie.  I said to my teacher, and to my whole class, that I don’t see anything wrong with having regrets.

My teacher and most of my classmates looked at me as if I had just said a curse word.

To most people, the word “regret” has a very negative connotation.  In the world of Facebook and MySpace, countless teens post as their statuses or headlines “No Regrets”.  We hear songs on the radio like Angels and Airwaves’ Rite of Spring, or even Rascal Flatts’ Here, all about the past heartaches, mistakes, pain, and poor choices.  But the resolve at the end is always the same: “No Regrets”…  “I wouldn’t change a thing”, etc.

Well, let me be counter-cultural for a moment and say that I am not afraid of having regrets.  There are things in my past I wish I could change.  And I think it’s harder to admit that than it is to slap a headline on your MySpace that says, “No Regrets”.  I really believe that, if everyone was truly honest with themselves, we’d all admit to having regrets.

The arguments for the “No Regrets” claim are out there.  “But Mary,” you may say, “If I hadn’t done x, y, or z….I would never have learned [insert valuable life lesson here]”.  That may be true.  But I think it’s very dangerous to start thinking of past mistakes as positive events.  For example, if someone gets drunk and gets into a car accident that injures or kills someone else, they will have (hopefully) learned to not drink and drive…but it would have been better had they learned that without actually making such a terrible mistake.

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It is healthy to realize that we have messed up in the past.  What is unhealthy is pretending our past is perfect because it “made us who we are today”.  Regret is the realization that we have done something wrong, and knowing that if we had the opportunity to go back, we would have done things differently.

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I regret any decisions I have made that caused myself unnecessary pain.  More importantly, I regret every time one of my actions ever caused someone else pain.

However, as I’ve said many times before, we cannot change the past.  We should not dwell on our past mistakes but rather learn from them.  And we can take away lessons from a mistake in our past while still acknowledging it as one.

I Regret Being "Nice"

 

It’s funny the kinds of things you regret when you take a moment to look back on life.

It’s not the things you would expect to regret when you’re in the moment.  In the long run, you don’t regret breaking up with that first boyfriend.  You don’t regret the fact that you missed your junior prom.  And you don’t regret taking that extra AP class in high school.  When it comes down to it, I’ve found that I regret the seemingly “little” choices I’ve made in life more than anything.

It was Saint Francis who said, “Preach the Gospel always.  When necessary, use words.”

Obviously the major thrust of this quote is that your whole life is supposed to be your witness.  We don’t need to always be yelling on the street corners about God because if we have true faith in Him, our lives will be a testament to that.  People are more inclined to follow example vs. orders that are yelled at them.

Still, even St. Francis acknowledges that, sometimes, words are necessary.  If we fail to grasp this, then we’ve missed the whole point.  Just as our word must be accompanied by actions, sometimes our actions must be accompanied by words.

If there is one thing I regret, in high school especially, it was not sharing my faith more openly with those I came in contact with.  I wasn’t ashamed of my faith…but I didn’t always stand up for it.  I didn’t always speak up when my friends were doing things I knew would eventually cause them pain.  Why?  I thought I was being “nice”.

Well I learned something about the word “nice” this weekend while I was listening to a homily given by the Bishop of Phoenix.

Did you know that the word “nice” comes from the verb nescio, which comes from a verb scire and a preposition neNe means not and scire means to know.

So basically, “nice” comes from a word that literally means, “to not know”.

Being “nice” may have helped me avoid confrontation, but there was no wisdom in my choosing to be “nice”.

Don’t get me wrong here.  I’m NOT saying we should all stop being kind to one another and go around self-righteously bashing other people’s beliefs.  As Christians, we are called to love always.  But “love” does not always equal “nice”.

Love isn’t about bending over backwards to avoid stepping on the toes of those around us.  Love isn’t about biting your tongue when the truth might offend someone else.

Love is always honest—even when the truth is something that people may not want to hear.

Let’s stop being “nice” and start loving.  I’ll pray for you if you pray for me 🙂

High School Revisited


“Brothers and sisters:
I declare and testify in the Lord
that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do,
in the futility of their minds;
that is not how you learned Christ,
assuming that you have heard of him and were taught in him,
as truth is in Jesus,
that you should put away the old self of your former way of life,
corrupted through deceitful desires,
and be renewed in the spirit of your minds,
and put on the new self,
created in God’s way in righteousness and holiness of truth.”

-Ephesians 4:17, 20-24

The above passage from Ephesians just happened to be the second reading from this past Sunday’s mass.  It was one of those masses that, for me, it just felt like God was speaking directly to me with the readings He chose.  Because this weekend I realized something.

I’ve gotten so used to the community I’m surrounded by in all my classes, and my amazing friends at home, not to mention my family who are always there to build me up, that I sometimes forget that, in the grand scheme of things, the way I live my life is sort of weird.

High school often kept me conscious of this fact (as high school is generally quite good at poking at the insecurities of anyone).  Don’t get me wrong, I had a really great high school experience (probably just about as good as they come).  I had amazing friends and we did a lot of the normal high school things—like go to football games, dances, and laugh about stuff that no one else outside of our group would find funny.  But I still sometimes felt like a loser because I didn’t do some of the other things that most people considered normal for a highschooler—like drink, party, hook-up, or even freak dance at the dances.

I often struggled with this in high school.  It was tough being different.  I remember asking myself on several occasions if maybe I was being just a little too uptight (maybe you’re thinking right now that I was being a bit too uptight).  “What’s the big deal?”  I’d think,  “Everyone else is doing it.  It’s not even that bad compared to X, Y, or Z.”  Unfortunately, that little voice inside of my head wasn’t usually satisfied with comparative, or relativistic, morality.  Maybe it’s not that bad compared to something else, but that doesn’t mean it’s good.  Today, I praise God for giving me the strength to stand my ground in high school (…most of the time anyways.  I won’t claim that I never made mistakes.) —even though it may have made me feel like somewhat of a loser on certain occasions.

Well that’s all fine and good …but isn’t insecurity and caring about what other people think supposed to go away after high school?  I guess I never REALLY believed that it would.  I just hoped.

Sadly, it doesn’t.  I still constantly feel God calling me to look like a fool for Him in new and terrifying ways.  Whether that be in telling someone that He loves them, or admitting my failures and apologizing to someone I’ve hurt when it sounds so much more satisfying to give into stubborn pride and come up with all sorts of ways to justify my actions with sarcastic comments.  Sometimes it’s tough to “put on the new self,” as God calls us to do in Ephesians.  Sometimes the “old self” just sounds so much more comfortable.  But we need to always strive to be growing as people.  And sometimes to grow isn’t all that comfortable.