I am in blood
Stepp’d in so far, that, should I wade no more,
Returning were as tedious as go o’er.
-Macbeth, Act III, scene IV
Much like Macbeth, we are often haunted by the ghosts of the past. We regret an incomplete education, an unresolved disagreement with a loved one we lost, unrequited love, an unfulfilled relationship, untold stories and unrealised dreams. And with these, comes the desperate need for another chance to do what was not done.
When we mull over broken bonds, we ignore the hand that waits to be held. When we look back on untold stories, we miss out on the ones that need to be told now. As Alexander Graham Bell put it: “When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.”
Many of us let regrets get to us. Dr Jaishree Ravikumar, a consulting psychologist, reveals that a patient of hers attempted suicide because she regretted marrying early, leaving her widowed mother alone. Surely, there are many like her among us.
Regrets attack our self-esteem, inducing a self-blame game. This leads to lack of confidence, which in turn, takes a toll on our wellbeing.