Regrets: a doorway into trauma and disability

I first encountered the term „life regrets” in American cinema. Some super hero (or master villain) was blurting out something along the lines of „I regret nothing. I will do everything exactly the same again.” These seem to be the vital components of the Hollywood hero mindset:

  • Saving the world (aka life having meaning/purpose),
  • smoking or at least alcoholism (being flawed despite all greatness),
  • and having no regrets.

Contrariwise, outside of the screenplay, some actors might beg to differ: „I have many regrets, and I’m sure everyone does. The stupid things you do, you regret. And if you don’t regret them, maybe you’re stupid.”

Nicely twisted antimetabole there, Katherine Hepburn.

What makes a regret a proper regret? What did a person have to do (or not to do), and how would it have had to be done, to have created an incurable nag, something permanent that continues to suck the life force out of the heart, so strong, that it emotionally cripples, and makes that person unable to live life to the fullest?

Do you have proper regrets in your life? Regrets that stopped you, and continue to stop you, from living your life… from living your life…  in which way?

And, is a really proper regret something bound to time? Does it have to be in the past? Or could it be in the future just as well? Can it be something, that we know we will do (or will not do), that stop us from living our lives now? Stop us from finding meaning, purpose, and act on it?