Let Go Of Guilt

Danger Sign Let Go Of Guilt

I took one ill-fated course in Spanish at the university level. I had taken three years of Spanish in high school and thought I was pretty good at it, good enough to rarely show up for class at the college level. When final exam time came I figured I would cram some of the assignments and be able to eek out a passing grade. 

When I arrived on the final day of class I discovered there wouldn’t be a written exam, we only had to interact in a five minute conversation with our instructor. Simple, right? Guess what? I couldn’t do it. 

I had pictures in my head about what certain words were or how they were written and punctuated, but without a written prompt for my brain to analyze and search for an appropriate response, I was screwed. I didn’t know how to have a conversation in Spanish because I never had one. I would have been better off watching an episode of Dora the Explorer, but that wasn’t on TV yet.

I failed the class. And so ended my brief sojourn as a student of the Spanish Language.  

Fast forward 15 years later and sometimes I still kick myself about failing that class. Why? I’ve always felt that I should have tried harder, I should try to learn more now, even though it’s relatively useless in my daily life, as if to make up for that past failure. I feel like if I had just passed that class, maybe I would know how to speak Spanish now, which is crazy. So why do I still occasionally beat myself up about an exam from 15 years ago? And how can I stop?

Guilt, in regards to how we feel about things undone or failures in our lives, is a useless emotion. It serves no purpose. The moment you start feeling guilt you are living in the past. A past you cannot change. You learn from failure, but you cannot dwell in it. Once you start, you’ll be sucked into a black hole of despair from which there is no escape.

If I wanted to learn Spanish, I could. I could get a book from the library, look for a tutor online, use the plethora of free language learning software available, but I haven’t. I haven’t because I don’t really need or want to learn it. I think the reason I never studied in it to begin with is I just wasn’t that interested in it. I should have listened to what I was feeling, dropped out, and saved some money. But even thinking about that is a waste of energy. It’s done. I am here. Now. So why waste any time thinking about the past or the dreaded could’ve beens and would’ve beens. It’s pointless.

Most of us have failed a class or lost a relationship or made any of the thousands of regretful decisions that we all make in our lives. They are all fodder for the person you are now. You are becoming the person you are more and more every moment and you are leaving beautiful failures and imperfections in your wake. They are signposts on the journey, telling you which way to turn, but a sign from 50 miles back the way I came can’t help me, I have to look for new signs. Give yourself permission to be free of all the things you wish you had done differently and you will feel lighter than you can imagine.

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