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On Regret: It might have been!

Amongst all the sad words ever said or written, the saddest are these, “It might have been” says American Quaker poet John Greenleaf Whittier in his famous poem Maud Muller. Such a deep statement! It contains regret, grief, pain, and longing. This is the sentence that I read in the eyes of the prisoners! Regret is one of the most painful realities of human life.

This is the test for human when the devil whispers this word constantly which opens the inner sadness to make the person unhappy. Intense regret is like a piece of hellfire in our hearts that makes people’s life miserable.

But life is too short to go and stay in the past. If something had happened then it is already in the past and there is no way to change it. If you want to live there is a chance for you to change your feelings and life. If there is life this means God gives us a second chance to beat the regret with apology or repentance. If regret is like poison then repentance is the medicine.

One day, one inmate attempted suicide. When I visited him, he told me, “I think God made a big mistake when he decided to create me.” He was deeply depressed. I listened to him for almost an hour. He had regrets in his life and he asked me how to relieve these regrets. I reminded him that “It could have been” is the most destructive word in our life and not to think that way. To try to come to the present moment instead of the past. Write your regrets in a paper. Then tear it up. Then do the same thing in your mind.

Making mistakes is inevitable for a human being. No one is perfect. Even the messengers as a human being made errors in their life and God corrected them. Thus, repentance is a second chance for a human being. If God gives second chances to human as human being, we should give second chances to ourselves and to others. Indeed, God is the only one who is All-Perfect.

There are two types of regret. First is positive regret that encourages you to correct yourself. The other is the negative type which is destructive regret that makes your life sad. If we can’t break this circle of repeating “It might have been” we will lose the blessing of today which will never come back. Neither the past and nor the future is real. The reality is in now. Living in an imaginary past is like living in a fake world.

Sometimes radical decisions help people to feel better about themselves. Changing your perceptions, emotions, thoughts or life is a kind of revolution in our life. When the lifestyle change it will give healing to your soul. On the other hand, we should always be thankful for current blessings.

One day an elder prisoner embraced a faith. He was very old. He said he would have wanted to find the truth when he was younger. I told him you found what you lost, whereas I don't even know if I can keep what I already have. It is never too late if we still live.

-Bilgin Erdoğan


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  1. you found what you lost, whereas I don't even know if I can keep what I already have