Is There Anything You Wished You’ve Never Done?

By Ellesse

About 4 years ago, during an ex-college mate’s wedding reception, my friends and I were seated with some of her previous colleagues and their spouses. Having come from an international accounting firm herself, my college mate’s colleagues were either senior finance managers or financial controllers of large multi-national corporations. High fliers, I would say.

A friend started chatting with one of the spouses. Seriously, I wished he had never started it because throughout the conversation, the spouse was haughtily bragging about his corporate profile. How many people there were in his department. How much turnover his company generate every year etc.

But he was stumped by one question.

“So, which secondary school (ie. high school) were you from?” My friend piped.

“Errh…” There was a long pause before he continued, somewhat defensive. “I was from yyy school. I was young and ignorant then and my uncle was telling my mum what a good school yyy was. It was only after I was admitted that I realized the school was quite notorious in the neighbourhood. I wished I had never listened to my uncle’s advice!”

When I heard that, I was aghast.

Why was he such a loser? Quick to claim credit for his achievements but brushed away facts that seemingly tainted his wonderful track record?

But as I reflect the incident now, I realized that the spouse was not alone.

Why You Shouldn’t Do That

A lot of people I knew personally, like looking back into what they’ve done. They call it reminiscing. I don’t see a problem with that except that most of them chose to do it in a manner that is very destructive.

They review the past wishing and hoping that they’ve never done certain things, hypothesizing that if they had never done what they did, they would be much better off.

That they would be spared the agonizing experience which they went through.

That they would not be required to bear the blemish of that “stinking” past.

But the truth is, when you’re doing that, you’re indirectly judging yourself. You get upset for the “imperfections” you’ve sole-handedly created and tries to make it up by working even harder. Even when you’ve attained remarkable achievements, you still felt that they weren’t enough. Whatever you’ve done couldn’t atone for the misdeeds. Because in your eyes, your past was too unforgivable.

To lessen the pain, some people chose to relinquish all responsibility. Like the spouse, they pushed the blame to others. However, it just makes them even more conscious of that “imperfection”, a pain that wouldn’t go away.

What You Should Be Doing Instead

Now, if what I’m describing above sounds like you, the first thing you should do is to stop fretting on the past and slowly learn to

  • Take Accountability

    Whatever that’s good or bad about you or your choices is yours alone. Only when you acknowledge them as part of your entirety will you realize you actually possess the ability to change it.

  • Be Grateful

    Think about it, if not for your past, would you be inspired to work even harder to achieve what you did today? If not for the outcomes of past decisions, would you know what course of actions to take or not to take? It’s through setbacks that you get to see how tough you’re. So shouldn’t you feel glad that you just went through one more opportunity to manifest that potential?

  • Enjoy the Journey

    Coming down so hard on yourself merely robs you of the pleasures in life and simply makes you more disgusted with it. Take heed of the downs and savour the rewards of your achievements. You know you should. Because you jolly well deserve it!


8 Responses to “Is There Anything You Wished You’ve Never Done?”

  1. Patricia - Spiritual Journey Of A Lightworker at 4:35 pm

    Ellesse, this is a great article and I agree with it 100%. The only thing that I regret about my pass is when I have been careless with my choice of words and hurt someone else. Even then, I take responsibility and choose to learn from the experience.

    A visitor to my blog recently, out of his feelings of compassion, told me that he was sorry for happened to me as a child. I told him that I am not sorry for the incest. I have taken my experiences and used them to become the strong, caring wonderful woman that I am today who chooses to reach out to others with love and compassion. Thanks for your article.

  2. Ellesse at 2:21 am

    Hey Pat, you’re a true fighter! It takes immense courage to face the past that you’ve been through and use that as the strength to move forward. Not only have you tread out of it, you blossomed into such a wonderful personality (yes, I know!) and even used your experience to help others.

    I know it’s not easy as I’ve been through similar events such as making the wrong decision on my pre-university application. So, you’ve got my utmost admiration!

    P.S. Goal Setting College readers, if you’re interested to read about a excellent blog on spirituality, you’ve definitely need to catch Pat’s at Good stuff!

  3. Patricia - Spiritual Journey Of A Lightworker at 2:33 am

    Ellesse, thanks for the words of kindness. They couldn’t have come at a better time. Your words have brought tears to my eyes. Yesterday, one of my readers came directly to my personal email rather than leaving 2 comments on my blog. I am thankful for that. I will call this person a man but I don’t know because he says he used an email, not his own and a name, not his own. The comments were an attack, at least I took them that way. I won’t share his comments but they have affected me. I didn’t sleep much last night. Surprisingly, it wasn’t my series on incest, but my “religion” that he has a problem with. I answered the first email. I will not answer the second. I know that there are people out there and they have easy access to our blogs on the internet but this is the first time that I have been a target. I will get over it. Thanks for your compassion. It truly helps. And thanks for sending your readers my way.

  4. Ellesse at 3:30 am

    Pat, it’s my pleasure to introduce your site. By the way, I’ve sent you a separate email :)

  5. Priscilla Palmer at 3:57 pm

    You have been tagged for The Personal Development List. (See my site for details), I would love for you to participate.

  6. Ellesse at 5:11 am

    Hey Priscilla, thanks for including me in the list. Most of my fave personal development sites are already in your list but I’ll not hesitate to participate when I come any!

  7. Liosis at 9:46 pm

    You know it is bloody hard to do that right? And what in the world is wrong with being ashamed of things that have happened to you? I know myself that I judge people based on how I myself have matured or achieved, I hold myself as the lowest rung and expect anyone else (especially those older than me) to do better. But we cannot expect this of people, and if someone feels like they should deny something that is their right. If they have learned through hard experience that what they do is considered shameful than it will take a great deal for them to stand up to it, and what in the world would the point be to stand up to the prejudice of someone you have never met?

    Not that I don’t agree with the fact that you should be honest, that you should accept your failings, and so on. But it isn’t something everyone can do, and if they feel like they have to it will make them even worse off than before.

  8. Ellesse at 9:16 am

    Thank you Liosis, for your views. Appreciate it. Yes, you’re right that it’s anyone’s entitlement to decide if they should be ashamed of their past actions. However, I think I need to make a clear distinction of being ashamed and taking positive actions about it versus being ashamed and totally denying it’s as part of your entirety. The latter, in my opinion is just self denial disguised to cover an wound that physically there all the time. Yes, though people on the outside can’t see the wound and the person afflicted with it can imagine it’s not there at all, the pain is there. It hurts. Attempting to forget about it is a seemingly good solution, but it wouldn’t make the pain go away. And it’s only when you squarely confront it, apply ointment on it that it will recover. Even when it leaves a scar on your perfect body, there will be no pain. Instead, it’s a trophy of you winning a tremendous victory.

    Naturally, this is a choice.

    A choice between living with your imperfection. Or winning over them.


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