I have lived with regret, for far too long.
I have let it plague me; Filling my soul with negativity for too many years.
Each time I thought I’d finally moved past it, forgotten it, left it behind…
it would rear it’s ugly face again – reminding me that it was never really gone.
I’m not quite sure how other people deal with their regretful memories.
My thought process was always that if I could ask for forgiveness, I would be able to move on.
So I did. Time and time again. Each time, things would be okay for awhile. Then all of a sudden I’d find myself right back to doing whatever activity had started the regret in the first place.
It was like an itch I had to scratch to feel relief.
Somehow, taking part in something negative again made me feel peace with ever doing anything wrong.
Like, maybe I didn’t actually screw up so bad the first time.
It made me feel more normal… more accepted.
More like reality and less like a nightmare.
It would feel fine at first, though looking back now I think I was just trying to be naive. Trying to deceit my own mind into believing that I didn’t know the harm I was causing myself.
But it never lasted….I would always come to sooner or later… and fall with a deafening crash into my self-dug hole of regret. Daylight further away than before. Each time I fell, I personally dug that hole another foot deeper.
That’s the biggest struggle when living with regret.
You don’t know how to break that cycle. And once you’ve fallen in the first time, even if you get out, it seems like that hole never really gets filled …you always end up stumbling upon it and fall right back in.
I’ve lived this cycle since I was seven.
Twenty fucking years of my life have been lost to regret.
What it all started with is no one’s damn business.
What really happened is something I will take with me to my grave.
I know better than to bring to light something that was born in the dark.
Sometimes things can fade away. Hurts….Sadness…Anger.
Some things actually can heal with time.
Regret is not one of those things.
It will eat you alive if you let it. I was told that it’s best to let it go, ask for forgiveness and move on. Move forward.
But it never worked.
I cannot count the amount of times I’ve prayed, face literally filled with tears, wanting with all I am to let this demon go.
For God to take away the memory, the cycle, all of it.
Just to let me finally feel freedom from my past.
In that moment I could usually feel it. When talking to God, I never felt judged or full of pain.
In those prayers I would say I did feel free.
But life crept back in… memories crept back in….. the way I remembered I felt about myself always came back.
And that’s all it took, that and time, before I’d find myself saying yes to another adventure that would inevitably lead me right back into that stupid hole. That all-encompassing, soul-crushing, endless hole where all my regrets sat waiting for me. Every damn time.
Like I said, it’s been twenty years.
And I’m not 100% sure what started the cycle of events that lead me to this revelation.
But today I can say, I finally feel free.
It started like any other prayer.
I had been awake all night, unable to escape my own mind.
I thought there was no other way I’d find rest
than talking with God about what was going on in my head.
So there I lie, in bed, eyes closed and heart ready.
Ready to pour out all the things that I didn’t want to feel bad about anymore…
all the hundreds of memories that I couldn’t go on one more second living with in my mind.
I moved my hands to cover my face…
I think subconsciously I didn’t want even God to see where I found myself now.
I was just about to recount each thing that I knew He needed to hear,
in order for me to ask for forgiveness and try to move on again.
But He stopped me.
Before I could even begin to think about those things… about anything… he stopped me.
All at once, I felt peace fall around me like snow.
Drifting down so gently and settling into all my broken pieces.
The peace softened the tightness in my tired hands.
I felt my hands fall, tenderly holding my face like a parent would to calm a crying child.
I felt a clarity that I’ve never known before, drowning out all my once deafening thoughts.
Imagery flooded my mind with waves, crashing new life over me…
washing away any trace of darkness my regret had brought me through.
I felt myself removed from my current physical state of angst, and suddenly
He told me, very clearly, what I needed so desperately to hear
– He Loved Me.
He told me through everything, He loved me.
He told me in spite of everything, He loved me.
He told me there was nothing I could ever do that would take that away.
He told me He loved me anyway.
Never in my life have I felt a love so pure, strong and real all at once.
In an instant every ounce of regret I’d held on to for years simply didn’t matter anymore.
I knew that all those moments had still happened.
I knew that they were not magically gone or removed from my memory.
But I finally realized that they truly did not matter.
Love is the only thing that can overcome anything. Specifically, for me, it was God’s love.
I’ve since realized, that I kept messing up because I felt like I was unworthy of being loved ever since that first screw up. I felt like damaged goods.
I felt like if anyone else knew the truth about what I’d done… they would never love me again.
I kept a secret hidden for fear of losing love. But it didn’t matter if no one knew, I knew…
and that lead me to not love myself.
For that reason – I have continued with no end to harm myself over and over again because I didn’t feel worthy of anything better.
In fact, I would go so far as to say that sometimes hurting myself made me feel better.
I felt validation in the negative way I saw myself.
Telling myself inwardly that somehow, this negative place is where I belonged now.
I always thought that moving on from regret was about being forgiven.
But I’m not sure if you can ever fully forgive yourself.
The deeper issue is love.
Can you love yourself again?
Can you realize that regardless your past & your mistakes
that you are worthy of love?
Maybe some people can do that on their own-
but I tried desperately for twenty years and never could.
God had to remind me,
that He loved me anyway.
And I realized something, if He can… so can I.