One of those things that, by the time you’ve completed your twenties, you probably have. You don’t necessarily need a list of regrets, but you’ll probably have one or two hanging in the mix.
While I have a couple of the myself, in terms of things I don’t think I should’ve done, I find the most fascinating of regrets slightly different.
I find the lack of action to be a much more interesting regret than taking action that led to a negative result. I also find that holding onto an emotion – resentment, anger, guilt – can be a much more debilitating state, and later and full-blown regret.
And this second regret, the holding onto emotion, is the regret that most scares me.
I’m guilty, as many probably are, of holding onto negative emotions. Whether it be romanticising sadness or feeling resentment or anger towards people in my life, these are the things that I’ve been reflecting on quite a bit, and especially during Ramadan. I don’t want this holding on to become a regret – or rather, a handful of regrets.
There are a couple of ideas to consider.
The first is from a practical point of view and it is that – we are the masters, engineers, authors, whatever-you-want-to-call-it, of our own lives. The holding on is a choice we make. The holding on is power we decide to give to people (who have no clue what you feel) or events (in the past that cannot be changed) or certain emotions (that you have also chosen) over us. So, in a sense, the letting-go of the emotions and resentment is an act of discipline, agency and leadership in one’s own life. You let it go, because you can, and because you choose to focus your energy on better things.
The second is more spiritual. The letting go here is not unlike the letting go of everything tangible that may consume you. Because, the holding onto and the bottling up of emotions, will also consume you. It can consume you to the point that it becomes a part of your identity. You can fall in love with your bad luck and your melancholy, and your resentment to a person can become the centrepiece of your life. So, these too can consume. In fact they can be all consuming. Except that they are not tangible. But letting go will have a profound effect on your health and psyche. So, like all the things you give up and commit to for the Divine, especially in Ramadan, let the release of negativity and resentment be one of the things you commit to. Detach.
Throughout Ramadan, I will continue to ponder these matters. I will commit to letting go. I will strive to feel that weight roll off my shoulders. I will work to release these emotions as one releases a bird from a cage. And perhaps by the end of Ramadan, instead of living with this emotional weight and accumulating regrets, I would have freed a bird or two.