Regret, in its various forms, is a constant presence for me. I go through phases where it stops me from living a full life and phases where it’s barely even a speck on my happiness. At the moment, I am regretting (and obsessing over) how badly I have treated my body over the past couple of years, specifically the last year, in regards to alcohol, the foods I have allowed myself to binge on, lack of sleep, lack of exercise, etc, etc.
Harsh truth (I hate them as much as you do but it is like the monster under the bed, the more you avoid it out of fear, the bigger and more petrifying it becomes): You cannot go back and undo these bad decisions or the fact that they became habit for a relatively long-term period of time.
Long story short, we only have one vessel and it’s important we look after it to avoid nasty health conditions now and in the future. However, human nature and modern Western society make this very difficult. Efficiency and popularity tend to be a priority, often, and ignorantly, over health. School work or my close relationships have alternated as being the sole focus of my concern. Concerns over my health have been momentary and unexplored (again, like the monster under the bed) and chased away with the very comforts that cause the fear in the first place: bad food, drink, staying up the extra hour on my phone, etc.
What I failed to realise was that the ‘important’ aspects of my life all require physical health in order to reach their full potential. Treating your body and mind well is the ultimate act of self-love, and you cannot be a purposeful and productive human being without self-love. It’s impossible.
I have, admittedly, been heavily influenced by those around me. If my close friends’ (or boyfriend de jour’s) focus was not on their health, I would be likely to conform and engage in the damaging behaviours that they were, because it made it seem more okay to be doing it myself if they were. Also, I loved them and wanted to have fun with them; I didn’t want to be the one to dampen things with nagging health concerns or to miss out on fun opportunities because I was rigidly set on self-preservation.
It is never too late to start doing something positive. You can make a difference in whatever you do, even if it’s only a marginal one; doing things differently is BOUND to produce a different ending result. If it is in your power to make a small change tomorrow, such as cutting down on those two sugars you have in your coffee and only having one, or having a piece of fruit with your lunch, then it is in your power to make a difference to your health. Don’t be deceived! The power is in the SMALL acts of self-control, because they appear to be the least significant, but add up to astounding results.
To touch upon something that I have previously discussed in some length: guilt and regret are silly because we didn’t have the tools to be able to do anything different at the time to what we did. I used unhealthy food and habits as crutches because I didn’t see any others available to me, or didn’t think they’d help. I did not see the damage I was doing to myself, so I couldn’t have had the view I have now that I can detach myself and quantify this damage.
Beating yourself up for your mistakes is like seeing a scratch on a car and being so frustrated that you got the scratch that you drive distractedly and angrily all the way home and scratch it up even more. I am imploring you to love yourself enough to forgive your ill-informed decisions. Appreciate that they are done now. Appreciate that everyone has to deal with their past mistakes because everyone makes them. Appreciate them also for what they are in truth, not for the acts of pure evil that you magnify them to be.
We need more honesty and more kindness in the world when it comes to recognising our mistakes, because without these two skills we are NEVER going to move forward from them or make them right. Only worse!
I love you. Look after yourself, even if that ‘only’ starts tonight. Sleep as well as you can, eat as well as you can and be thankful for the option that you have been given to change things. Your life has not ended because of these decisions as you wouldn’t be reading this if it had, and I wouldn’t be writing this in the first place if my mistakes had ended me! I have been given the chance to change my ways and so have you. Let’s not focus on the damage and instead focus on the healing.