Why I’d rather regret the things I have not done

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Lucille Ball has allegedly said that “I’d rather regret the things I’ve done than regret the things I haven’t done”, and I wish I could say the same. Alas, as a person who was diagnosed with generalised anxiety disorder many years ago, things aren’t quite as simple. I know LoveBlog is a challenge meant to explore love, but this post will be going live the day before Time To Talk Day, and I felt it was worth the slight detour. Loving a person with anxiety is a challenge, and sometimes we feel unworthy of that love, but I dare say we deserve it just as much as anyone else. Even when we are quite a handful, and boy, I really am one big time.

I’m a known indecisive person, because I’m too scared of making the wrong decision. This sometimes paralyses me to the point of actual panic attacks, but more often than not I just end up making a decision and second-guessing it. I am a real life Chidi from The Good Place. If you don’t have an anxious mind, you have no idea just how bad things are when you make a mistake. Your mind will dwell on it for pretty much eternity, and will never let you move on from something silly you’ve done, no matter how many decades ago that has been. On the contrary, there are few thing I haven’t done that I still remember, because they did not end in something my mind can torture myself over. There are a few situations that haunt me, where I wish I had done something instead of nothing, but more often than not I dwell on the things I’ve done that have gone wrong. It’s not even like I can just choose not to dwell on things, as I suffer from intrusive thoughts. I may be thinking about something positive and as if there was another Alessia in my mind, that other self is thinking something entirely different at the same time. I have no control over the negativity that lives in my head, and the only way out is, if it works, therapy.

Sometimes regret leads to repentance, but often it’s about morally neutral actions and my feelings are spurred by what happened next. The kind of regret which leads to repentance is obviously a welcome one, and in those cases I’m happy to regret the things I have done as they bring me closer to Jesus, but for everything else, I’m happier regretting the things I have not done. I’m a writer, and have a wild imagination: every open-ended situation is pregnant with possibilities that taking action will push away towards only one. They say that if you don’t try you lose, while if you try you have a 50/50 chance to succeed, but very rarely I feel that the 50% chance to succeed is worth the humiliation of failing after trying, and so I would rather fail by default, by just not showing up.

There are things and areas in which I have enough confidence to make decisions and show up, and it doesn’t always end well, which doesn’t help me feeling more inclined to try it when it comes to other situations. It is, frankly, exhausting to live with a brain like mine. Depression is often centre-stage when people talk about mental health, but anxiety is just as life-sucking and, contrary to popular belief, it can also come with suicidal thoughts and tendencies. For me, I have found that I feel much worse about things I have done that have been humiliating in some way, most of which have to do with liking the wrong people. You could say I’m especially prone to the sin of pride, but I don’t think I’m any more so than everyone else, or if I am it’s because the enemy knows how to use a medical condition I suffer from against me.

Maybe on my deathbed I will remember things I didn’t do that now have faded away to make space for the regrets for what I have done, but I doubt it. Still, for now, my biggest regret is having given away so much love where it wasn’t deserved, and I’d rather not have this regret, even if the popular saying goes that you’d rather have loved and lost than never known love at all. I’m sure I’d be very good at being a Ebenezer Scrooge, thank you very much.

This post is part of the LoveBlog challenge on the topic of Regret.

Photo by Josh Couch on Unsplash

Promotional graphic for the LoveBlog challenge 2019

Meet your hosts

Brita of Belle Brita

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Brita Long is the pink and sparkly personality behind the Christian feminist lifestyle blog, Belle Brita. On her blog and social media, you’ll discover more than authentic storytelling–she’s brutally honest about pursuing a fulfilling and joyful life even with Crohn’s Disease and depression.




Laura of Do Five Things A Day

Laura is a big dreamer, full time marketing manager, blogger, and part-time artist. Like many of us, she spent part of her life struggling with frustrations on a daily basis and just all around felt drained and uninspired…that was her. She decided to change all that one morning. Now Laura lives in the blogging world because she believes the buzz about self-care and self-love needs to be heard. She aspires to inspire people in their everyday lives and help them to live towards their dreams and making the most out of every day by sharing her own experiences and stories.

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  1. This post really tugs at my heart. I struggle with anxiety as well and at times depression and many times those spurts are spun because of how self-critical and hard I am on myself, where evil regret comes in. Thank you so much for sharing these honest, open thoughts <3

  2. I have anxiety over making decisions too, even little decisions like choosing what to wear or what to pack. I’m both sorry to hear you have the same issue and relieved to know I’m not alone in this.

    I also think this still dwells on the topic of love. Figuring out how to get through life with minimal damage to yourself is loving yourself!

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