I experienced a stark reminder yesterday of how insidiously ugly regret can be. A major internet influencer posted a video about a topic which trending up and to the right lately. Lots of people are talking about it, writing books and companies are building specialty apps around the concept. While this guy was one of the first to talk about the concept over 10 years ago, he is not one of the current media darlings around the topic. The concept, while trending today is also as old as the world, it is something humans have been doing since the dawn of time. It is something many religious practices teach and ascetics practice. The current discussion is basically a popularisation for the masses. And the guy in the video was pissed off that all these people weren’t giving him credit for talking about it for 10 years. His regret at being left out of the current popularity oozed through every frame. It was not a good look. Half way through, I stopped listening to what he was saying and just felt bad for the guy. His message was not getting through all the regret.
You can’t change the past. So regret is a completely wasted emotion. And when you have it, it can completely change the character of your present. Like a video on a subject you care deeply about. The message of the video was completely lost on me, hidden behind all the regret. The guy’s present moment was destroyed by his ascent to regret about the past. The problem is not that he felt regret. Feelings come into consciousness all the time from who knows where. The problem was his ascent to and identification with regret so that someone watching a video could clearly see and feel it. The regret was passed on with other things he was trying to say and reduced the effectiveness of his message. I doubt that was his intent.
Remember Martin: Regret isn’t a good look on you.