Tuesday, 8 April 2008

Regret and Lessons Learned

I’m afraid I just don’t have the energy right now to finish that post on the selflessness of dominance…but I have a bit of a different topic that I do have the energy to write about:

Regret and the uselessness of fixating on it, despite the fact that you can’t help but indulge in it sometimes. And further, that women lead with their hearts…we seem to have to make an extra effort to think logically. It’s a catch-22: I, as a woman, make decisions emotionally, a trait that the right man for me will find endearing. But for now, on my own, it is my worst detriment. And finally, that sometimes you just have to believe that everything happens for a reason…that there should be no such thing as regret because something better will come along. I’m trying to have faith in that last one, really I am.

At the end of the day, I have to think I’m strong enough and courageous enough to hold out for the right thing and that I’m not going to settle for mediocrity. Because I deserve the right thing…and more importantly, because that future right guy deserves a woman who thinks the world of him, not a woman who’s just settled for him.

Ever since I realised that I want and need a TiH relationship, I’ve maintained that I won’t settle…that though what I want feels like a fairytale, I’m convinced that somewhere out there, it exists…that he exists. I try to believe – and I usually do – that everything in life is a lesson, that my fairytale will happen someday and that the longer it takes, I will just be that much more sure that it really is the fairytale. But sometimes I’m terrified that it never will…that I’ve made too many wrong choices, missed too many tiny windows of hope for it to ever happen. After all, how many chances do we each get in life? Perhaps I’ve used all of mine up.

I’m feeling a bit of a sting today and when you couple the sting with lots of little things going wrong lately, I was awake all night last night, indulging in regret whilst staring at the ceiling cursing myself for stupid mistakes. Mistakes of the heart. Feminine mistakes.

I mentioned a few weeks ago that the TiH profile of a man I met once is now listed as “no longer available,” and that I wondered if he’d met someone, if he might even be married. Well, deep in introspection last night, I spent awhile doing what we all do from time to time, Googling people I haven’t seen or heard from in forever.

I discovered that a few more high school classmates are married, I discovered that a friend I’ve long since lost touch with moved across the US, to the dreaded west coast :) And then the sting…I discovered – I’m quite sure at least – that the man I once met from the TiH site has, in fact, married. And a few clicks later, using my elephant-like memory and the realisation that there were too many coincidences of names and events for it not to be so, I realised that he married the woman who I think he met just the day before he and I met.

The details are a long story and not one I would tell here, lest I divulge things that should remain private, but the summary is, I am quite sure that this gentleman married a woman he met just before he met me. Whilst it’s entirely possible that there wouldn’t have been any chemistry between he and I anyway, as it was, I never stood a chance. When he and I met face to face, she had just snapped up his heart and I no longer mattered to him. Bad timing.

And it’s very possible and likely that if it weren’t for my own mistakes and bad timing, then I could have met him weeks earlier, when his heart was still available. It is also, of course, entirely possible that I have no reason for regret…that he just didn’t want me and whether or not he’d met someone else is irrelevant.

But, I am knee deep in regret right now for poor timing, for misplaced priorities and thinking with my heart, for bad luck. Not really over him specifically, more over what this signifies in the bigger picture - the continuing trend across my life. When I finally responded to his profile, I had been all over the map emotionally for the previous six weeks and was delaying moving on to better things because I was trying to change the past.

I’m too picky for my own good and I’ve met many men where there just wasn’t anything there…we all have, I think. But I’ve met a few who I just really clicked with, right off the bat. And for the six weeks before I replied to this gentleman’s profile, I’d been on an emotional roller-coaster, thinking I’d met the perfect man elsewhere…twice.

So, due to my wallowing, due to the regret that I was fixated on over these other men – men I now look back on and wonder what on earth I was attracted to – I delayed meeting someone who quite likely was the fairytale. I delayed things for so long that I missed my window with him, if there was one.

Part of missing the window was that I responded to my ex’s profile first. And though I don’t regret that part in the slightest even now, most of it was due to wallowing in regret over the wrong men. I was wallowing over nothing.

After this gentleman and I met - after over a month of intense email and phone communication - and he said he didn’t feel any chemistry, I went through the weeks of wallowing, of wishing for things to have turned out differently.

But, I went on to feel happy and ecstatic weeks later when I met my now ex, who was everything I’d been looking for and more, and I put aside every last feeling of regret for guy #2. I heard from him at about that time and he said he’d met someone…and there were hints that I was right, that they’d met just before we did.

But here we are, nearly two and a half years later, I’m back to square one – guy #1 didn’t want to spend forever with me, guy #2 is spending forever with another woman…and I’ve just spent the past six months putting entirely too much energy and hope into a man who wasn’t the fairytale. Yet again, I followed my heart and not my head and ignored the fact that he just doesn't want the fairytale as much as I do, and in a way, I let myself get used and thrown away...not a pleasant thought. But overall, the worst part is that I had myself on mental hold for six months, waiting for someone who didn't want me...possibly missing out on someone who does.

And the moral of the story is that I spent many an hour last night, laying in bed, wondering what could have been if I had responded to guy #2’s profile when I first saw it, when I had more time to capture his heart…when I was too preoccupied with regret to muster the energy to respond. I wondered where I would be right now if I hadn't been pining over this other man for the last six months.

In other words, it’s a viscous cycle. I’m sitting here regretting my regret! Exactly what I shouldn’t be doing. I don’t think I’d have met my now ex if guy #2 and I had worked out, so that’s a reason not to feel regret. I know I wouldn’t be living in the UK and I do love it here, so that’s another reason not to feel regret. Except, I can’t help but overanalyse and allow that ignorance can be bliss: if I’d never met my now ex, I wouldn’t know that I’m better for knowing him. And, if he and I hadn’t dated, I wouldn’t know how much I love the UK…so, I don’t know.

I do know that I’m using every ounce of energy I have to quell my feminine heart just enough to get on with life…to keep my eyes open for an actual great guy who really is the fairytale…a guy who is strong enough for me to let go and legitimately let my feminine heart take over. Because the thing about regret is that you can’t change the past. You can and should learn from it, but you can’t change it. So I’d like to think that I’ve learned to keep my eyes open for great guys, to keep them open for the fakes and to learn from, but not regret, the past.

We’ll see if I can stick to that. I would like to think that I’ve finally grown enough to keep that femininity in check just long enough to find a guy who is worthy of my letting it show.


Egghead said...

You've got more things right than you perhaps think:

> I, as a woman, make
> decisions emotionally,
> a trait that the right
> man for me will find
> endearing.

Very much so. By all means do not become rational and masculine. In any case, emotional or, if you will, intuitive decisions can actually be superior by virtue of their speed and determination.

You are also right in being picky, although you are currently suspecting that you are too picky. For a woman like you it is crucial to find a man who is your superior in a number of areas and not just by definition and rank. There really must be something for you to admire him for.

The right guy will come. The fact that you have come close means that they are out there. It should encourage you rather than put you down.

Wild Girl said...

As I read your post I was struck with how alike we both are. I used to be just as you are now, constantly rehashing every minute detail of everything that could have been. That is a lost cause way of thinking and you must simply decide you will not engage in it.

If your thoughts do not serve to bring good things to you then cease those thoughts. You are focusing on regret and what you focus on in life multiplies. It is understandable to feel this as i said, I too remember vividly in my past, doing just that. But I am here to tell you changing your thinking can be done, even in the midst of great emotional pain. It is in this changing that you actually bring about the very thing you want.

Have you ever had a day when you woke up feeling just wonderful for no particular reason. Just felt so happy you knew it showed and that you glowed. Every where you went hat day, people responded to you in the best ways. It seemed you brought happiness every where you went. Well that's because you did. Your very attitude brought the responses you got all day. Then on the opposite end, haven't you ever woke up and felt just terrible, bad mood and no amount of anything was going to pull you out of it. Then to top it of, every where you went that day, people were snappy towards you, not patient or just rude. Do you get where I am going with this? I'm sure you do. You also brought that along with you and the people just responded in kind.

This should illustrate just how powerful we all are in our daily lives, that what we think actually physically effects that around us. In essence we all create our own reality. My perfect example would be this.

A few months back, 5 to be exact, my husband of 14 years suddenly and very unexpectedly died. We have two small children so that just mad it so much worse to lose the man i spent so many years with and whom was the sole breadwinner. I'm sure you get the picture, a devastated heart broken widow. My emotional pain was so deep i could not even cry. It hurt me physically every day and every night, right in the middle of my chest. I felt I could not breathe...it hurt all the time. I woke up each day wishing I were dead. I truly believed with all my heart that I would never truly be happy again. I thought that this terribly longing for what should have been, that i would have to learn to live with that feeling for the rest of my days, somehow come to terms with such regret and hurt, as though it was my new horrible way of life that had been so unfairly dealt to me.

Luckily a very wise man told me. Honey "Assume it until you become it." He said wake up and just decided to be happy. Well that sounded ridiculous to me but at that point what did I have to lose, I'd lost it all already. Another way of putting it is "Fake it until you make it." Well i did. I woke up one day and decided to be happy. I plastered on a big fake smile and kept it there all day. I felt stupid and like a walking liar. But I kept at it and in less than a week I had to admit I was less sad...not happy but definitely less sad. So I kept at it for another week and by the end of that one, I had actually laughed for the first time in months. I mean I really laughed, so hard my stomach hurt. I still remember just how healing that felt. I kept at it and I found myself singing in the car. Suddenly I had hit on the trigger for me. Singing in the car made me instantly happy and allowed my fears, worries or negative feelings to slide away as I sang. I spent a lot of gas money those weeks, driving aimlessly no where but it was the thing I needed to heal.

One day I woke up and no longer felt any pain. I mean none what so ever. I can honestly tell you now, had I not made the conscience choice to get up, smile and be happy, I would still be there, stuck in pain and wallowing in misery.

During this time, I also made the connection that I not only wanted to be happy again, i wanted a whole new life. I decided to picture just exactly what i wanted, where i wanted to live and so on. Despite many peoples attempts to dissuade me from it, I got exactly what I pictured. And I got it against all odds. it was quite literally impossible for me to get the place I am currently living, as I did not qualify and the owners were adamant. I however did not let that slow me down. I had already decided I wanted this place, that little obstacle was nothing. I did not figure out how I would get it, just kept in my mind the picture of what I wanted and remained annoyingly cheerful.

You can use this same thing in your life to change your feelings of regret. First the changes come from within you and fan outward. You have the picture in your mind of that perfect man for you. Do not alter that or feel you are too picky. I am picky too in just about everything but so what...so what if i have standards. I plan on keeping mine. That's the way i get the best of the best out of life. I don't settle in ANY area of life, certainly not in love.

So wake up tomorrow, put on a fake smile and go out in life and make it happen. It really is THAT simple. Let go of the past, let it fly out the window, even picture that happening if you must but let it go. Then focus on what you want now, someone totally new and keep smiling.

One last thing, since you are very educated I want to illustrate how Quantum physics works just as i said above. In quantum physics there is a thing called Critical Mass. Do you know it/ well if not, it is the point at which mass changes from one thing to a much more evolved thing and this happens at the point in which the mass has changed 51 percent of its structure. at 50 percent there is absolutely no indication it is about to change. But that 1 percent added to it and the whole thing changes, bringing along the last 49 percent for the ride. No one, not even the scientists examining the thing can know for sure when something will reach critical mass but when it happens, nothing can stop the evolution of it. It happens in an instant.

Well your thoughts are like this, and your life. You have no idea, not even you know in your own mind just when you are about to reach Critical Mass in your goals. But if you give up and say, I will settle, then you may have been only 1 percent away from critical mass...your life just about to evolve and change into that perfect happy thing of contentment and beauty. This is why one must never, ever give up on anything they want. You are so very close now.

Smile, smile, smile.