I’ll be falling all about my own thing
And I know you’re the heaviest weight
When you’re not here that’s hung
Around my head

-Dave Matthews Band “I’ll Back You Up”

Ever regret something so much you just wish it, and everything that led up to it never happened? Yeah, me too.

I know that old adage about all mistakes actually being lessons learned, and so you shouldn’t regret the mistakes, because you must’ve learned something from it. I guess for the most part, most of my mistakes have inevitably resulted in me becoming wiser; okay if not wiser, then, maybe a little more cautious?

But some mistakes are just mistakes. No rhyme or reason to them. They just suck. They leave you feeling horrible. They cost you more than you even thought you could lose.  And they leave a scar so deep you’re pretty sure it’ll never heal.

I’ve definitely made mistakes in my life. Looking back though, I realize that they’ve turned me into the person I am, and for the most part, I actually like myself.  But some mistakes make no sense to me at all. Impulsive stupidity, leading to normally avoidable situations, when your brain is screaming “what the HELL are you doing?” and yet you press on with no regard for the damage your actions cause. Those are the ones I find most difficult to forgive myself for, the ones I actually see no point in.  The people you hurt may forgive you, and sometimes the relationship you thought you screwed up may improve… or sometimes you can be forgiven, but lose a friendship that meant more to you than even you were aware of.

Guilt is a horrible feeling. Knowing that the only person you can blame for the pain you feel is yourself sucks. As human beings we are prone to making mistakes. More often than not, an apology and a promise to learn from the mistake is all that needs to be done to make it right. But sometimes, on very rare occasions, apologies are insufficient and nothing can be done to correct the situation. It happened. It’s done. And so you take the blame and all the guilt that goes along with it and try not to let it overcome you.

You go about your life. You enjoy moments with friends and family.  Days, weeks, years go by and you’re fine. But there are moments when you’re alone, and something triggers you to remember, and then whatever amount of time has passed disappears, and you’re there again, and that feeling of remorse overwhelms you and you start to wish you could take it all back. You forget that there were good times before you screwed up. You start to wish you’d never met the person you caused pain. You start to wish that none of it ever happened because that pain, however fleeting the feeling, is so real, and still so raw that you’re willing to forget everything that surrounded the event that caused it just to not feel it anymore.

But you can’t go back and change things. All you can do is hope that no matter the circumstance, you never, intentionally or not, do something that you can’t forgive yourself for. Because no matter how excusable the mistake, no matter the forgiveness of others you may have wronged, you have to look yourself in the mirror and face the consequences of your actions. You have to deal with the regret and the pain of whatever loss incurred due to your actions. It’s a crappy place to be.

Maybe that’s the lesson.

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