Regret

Regret

Mar 16, 2013

Regret

By Josh Hunt

“Live life with no regrets.” This statement makes sense to me in the logical context but, it has always bothered me. I could never wrap my head entirely around it. At the root of it, I can get behind it, live life in a manner that you have left out nothing. In other words experience the wonder that is being on this earth, to the maximum extent possible. But, this concept is flawed, and I have felt that way even early on my path to becoming the person I am today. It has occurred to me that in order to live a live without regret a person has to be: morally bankrupt, have no imagination, or be completely unwilling to push the envelope and step outside of their comfort zone. Could you imagine the type of monster a person would be if they had no sympathy, empathy, or regret when they hurt someone even unintentionally? Feelings get hurt all the time due to our actions, even if there was no malice involved. Friends suffer psychical injuries due to accidents that are caused by someone wanting to do something because there is a fear of regret of missing out on an experience.

Aside from the moral bankruptcy issue, it takes a certain amount of imagination to dream, and often dreams are met with dissatisfaction. Hence regret for chasing those dreams and meeting letdown and dismay. So if one can’t imagine, the possibility of regret is severely diminished. Lastly, one has to have willingness for personal growth. In order for this growth to happen one must be willing to accept new forms of stimuli, which is usually not the most comfortable of things to do. In fact it is many times downright scary. With personal growth one must expect growing pains, so if someone is unwilling to move out of their comfort zone, they again reduce the probability of regret. If one does live a regret free life I would wager that there is a good chance that this person would be either completely uninteresting or lack coping mechanisms that come due to the pain of learning from mistakes. It is impossible to insulate ourselves from ill feelings; no matter how hard we try. Heartache, grief, anguish and regret are all part of the human condition. These undesired moments and feelings help to shape us into who we are, and how we interact with individuals and society as a whole. Regret is a cruel but effective teacher.

Recently, I have taken notice to the news and people’s conversations about sensitive and controversial topics, and oft times to me, there is an underlying theme that as a society we need to mitigate pain in a person’s life. But, not only is this a task that is impossible to achieve, it robs people of important skills and experiences that are intertwined with being human. We’ve all seen the parent that coddles their child then watched that child grow into an adult that is unable to accept defeat, rejection, failure, and a litany (I’ve always liked that word because it reminds me of the spell LIT from Final Fantasy I) of other facets of adulthood that are intrinsic to being alive and breathing. Not to get too preachy, but I believe my generation is among the worst offenders in this vein. Consider all the thirty something’s out there that still live with their parents because life is just too difficult and they can’t handle another failure. Or worse yet, those that have never tried because they don’t want to feel the sting of regret due to rejection. This idea of divorcing pain from life begins manifesting at childhood. Look at all the participation trophies we give out for almost anything. There is no real concept of worth or achievement when everyone is a winner. Hell, I remember getting an award just for sitting on the bench in Little League, then down the road I would get upset that I wasn’t the MVP on a team because I was so used to being a special and being recognized for my ‘efforts.’ It took years and an unimaginable number of disappointments to learn how to deal with these situations without having a breakdown or temper tantrum. That is not to say I can take disappointment apathetically or with total grace. For example: in my search to find a relationship (yes ladies I am a single man, but please don’t get all hot and bothered because my ability to self deprecate is sexier than Ryan Remolds’ abs) I have put myself on the line and shown my vulnerabilities more times that I would feel comfortable admitting (at least without at least a six pack and a few shots of whiskey in my gut) and somehow gotten burnt each and every time. Do I regret these rejections that lead to emotional distress? Hell yes, I’d be a lair if I said I didn’t. However, these events have allowed me to learn about myself in ways I can’t even articulate as well as glean things about human nature that I would not be cognizant of otherwise. Plus, I have most likely dodged a few crazy girl bullets. But, if in the end, something ends up working out for me, I can trust that my regrets have set me on a path of becoming the person that attracts someone that is right for me, and in turn I can make that person happy (sappy I know, maybe I watch too many chick flicks).

Regret is a word and emotion that acts like ipecac. It’s bitter, turns the stomach, and makes one want to vomit at times. It is not something that people want to have in their life, but as stated before it is important and can help teach in ways other emotions can’t. And, seeing as how this is a powerlifting website and I have meandered all over the place, I will get to the tie in (in all honesty I could go on onto other avenues with this article, but I have to keep telling myself this is like a crossover comic and Moon Knight is eventually going to have to meet Spawn). Regret and defeat can be our training partners. It’s how we deal and interact with them that will help dictate if we become better athletes or those that could have been great. It is our competitive nature that draws us into the gym and forces us to train. We train to lift more weight than we could have last month, just like a marathon runner trains to get a faster time than their last race. But failure and shame are always on the periphery. If we were able to write the story of our next meet we’d all set new personal records and have that competition be our best in our lifting career. However, this is not always possible. From time to time we bomb out, leave weight on the platform, get injured in the middle of an attempt, don’t listen to our coaches, and the list goes on and on. It is only a matter of time before we fail, and yes we all fail. It’s what we can learn from these failures that will help us become stronger.

A few years ago my training program had a great deal of board benchpress work designed into to it. I believe the concept behind this was handling greater weight would allow for larger gains. After this training cycle was complete and I competed at my next benchpress competition I found that a full range benchpress was incredibly difficult. Touching my chest was arduous let alone pausing it there. I learned right then and there that it was important for me to train with a full range benchpress and to make sure I could touch and pause the weight on my chest. In a way I regret the way I went about training leading up to that competition because I felt that I could have done better than what I did. But, this regret taught me a valuable lesson that I incorporate in my training now. I cannot tell you how many times I have lost in a competitive realm (fortunately, I believe, I have been fairly successfully in powerlifting). I regret each and every one of these losses, but I have learned from them. They have fueled my desire to get better and not feel that emotion again. These losses have made me hungry and I want to insure that regret and failure don’t seep into my life and my training. However, if they do I hope to use them in ways that allow me to refine my technique, adjust my attitude, keep myself humble, and make myself an all around better person.

It is very easy to regret anything that leads to disappointment. These instances are numerous, every couple of weeks I am disappointed that I tried to lift too much and I missed a rep here or there. I kick myself in the middle of powerlifting meets because I received a red light for not squatting deep enough. I beat myself up for not training as hard as I could have from time to time. I know I am not alone in many of these instances, but every time these things happen it is an opportunity to learn. I can honestly say that my life is rife with regret but I am a much smarter and better man for it. We should not try to live life without regrets because no matter what we will have them. We should try to minimize our regrets and when they come into our lives we should get something positive out of them.

– Quench the thirst, drown the sorrow
And forget about cold yesterdays . . . Agalloch

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One comment

  1. Jesse Waletich /

    “With personal growth one must expect growing pains” I have seen this in my life and embrace the experience. Life is unexpected and no matter what you prepare for, the unexpected will happen!!

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