Leaving something to be desired
The feeling of leaving something to be desired was introduced as the norm to me very early on. Always one revolving door away from being good enough. Pretty exhausting, really.
But what does that teach you…
To doubt yourself? Regretting every decision that ended up in yet again not living up to un-live-up-able expectations? Perhaps it's chasing the approval of people that aren't actually worth it and abandoning yourself in the pursuit of doing so. A mix of all of the above, I suppose.
It is always being made to feel like I was less than, for whatever I was trying to do, which has instilled me with the desire to never have regrets. To live my life in a way that would allow me to look back at what I've done and feel at peace. But how does one go about doing that?
The thing about regrets for me is that they are accompanied by an immense sense of guilt and a feeling of having let not just yourself but everyone around you down. An unbearable amount of pressure to do the right thing and do it well enough to live up to the heavy responsibilities that were placed on me.
Perhaps, in order to never have regrets, it's easiest to just take the safe way to avoid mistakes. If no risks are taken, the number of failures subsequently gets lowered as well. A world with no failures and mistakes, can you imagine? But does that equal being good enough? Fulfilling the desire of no regrets? I don't think so.
For a while, I lived my life this way without even realizing it. Never trying the things I really wanted to do, because I was too afraid of not succeeding before even having started. This desire had been the driving force for how I navigated through my decisions for longer than I'd like to admit. Turns out that my greatest desire had been the place where my potential came to die.
Only when finally brave enough to face the music, was I able to pull myself out from under its power. I realized I had been filled to the brim with regrets. Regrets of never having taken those dance classes, never having pursued my interest in acting, never having confessed my feelings to that one person and not having spoken my mind in moments when it mattered.
By avoiding failure and any instance in which I might get or feel rejected, I hadn't actually been staying true to myself. As cliche as it might sound, you miss 100% of the shots you don't take. That's exactly what I had been doing.
Finally, realizing how I had been self-sabotaging turned out to be half the battle. My journey to loving, accepting, and showing up for myself allowed me to get back in touch with what I actually wanted.
To just do me. To trust myself. No matter what anyone else thinks or says. No matter the lack of experience or how bleak the possibilities might seem.
If I have given it my all, I know I will not have regrets. No matter what that might look like. That is why I now don't have regrets about my past either. I finally accepted that doing my best looks different every day and that back then I had been, in fact, doing my best as well.
© Sahriah Ingratubun 2023-02-20
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