Regret and self-doubt are insidious things and can cause a ridiculous level of unnecessary suffering in one’s own life. That’s why it is SO important to accept life as it’s been presented to you without the concept of regret in your heart and mind. Now bear in mind, I’m not suggesting you just lay back and let whatever happens direct your life. If you want to see change, you need to make change. But my point is that every choice, decision and incident (good or bad) that’s happened in your life has brought you to the here and now and has minded you into the person you are today.
Unless you’re a complete piece of shit, it should be difficult or impossible to regret the steps in your life that have brought you to your current state. From there, it should be a completely separate battle to forge your CURRENT existence into something other than what it is, if you so choose. That’s why I get some serious entertainment from the many social media posts I see these days where people ask the question: “What would say to the younger version of yourself?”
This is actually an interesting question and one that I’ve contemplated several times when spotting these entertainment posts. On the one hand and in keeping with my opening statements about no regret, I think it would be hard for me to try and say anything to my younger self that could potentially alter the course of my life. For example, although it would make sense for me to speak a 4-year old me and tell him to start karate right away instead of waiting until the age of 10 and it would seem to be something that could help, those actions could likely cause effects that would seriously alter and disrupt life as I’ve come to know it. I can hear Doc Brown screaming, already!
In all seriousness, I had a lot going on when I was 4-years old. I was diagnosed as a Type-1 Diabetic, my health and life were in jeopardy and our household was still in the throes of constant hospital visits and travel for my brother. I can’t see my being able to attend karate through all of that and since my mother all but hauled me out by my shirt tails from the precursor to Boy Scouts BECAUSE I was diagnosed as Diabetic, I don’t believe she would have allowed me to join and stay, in karate.
But martial arts aside, the question was what I would say to my younger self, which is a loaded and difficult question. After all, even something seemingly innocent and without future information could be damaging. If one were to tell a younger self “it gets better,” this could still prompt a lack of caution or laziness on the part of one’s past self. That being said, I often reflect on some of the joyful experiences I had in my younger years and I think that if nothing else, it might be pleasant to watch those experiences play out through my current eyes. Often in life, we don’t appreciate how easy we may have had it or how good things were and can only realize the same through reflection.
I guess the moral of the story is I, personally, wouldn’t say anything to my younger self. And you shouldn’t want to, either. Although people are likely tired of hearing that everything happens for a reason, even if you aren’t in the best place right now, NOW is when you need to make the change; not 20 years ago. Reflection and self-realization are the tools necessary for a happier life with less suffering. Food for thought… ☯️