Regret. Who hasn't felt it at some point in her/his life?
We make a decision or choice, and then we find out later down the road, some aspect about it makes us feel like, wow---we should never have done this.
I had one of those moments last week. It was one of the rare moments I've had in the past five years or so where I deeply regretted choosing to transition. You might think that sounds intense and like a heck of a thing to regret, right? Like, I sorta can't undo this one.
It's true, I can't undo it. But I can choose how I allow my feelings about it and I can choose what I do moving forward.
Unlimited choices bring us unlimited options and more unlimited choices. We don't need to go through life resigned to "good enough." Is this hard? Yes, it's damn hard.
Perhaps you don't feel like you can do it. Perhaps you feel totally discouraged and resentful like I did last week when I thought, "man, this sucks. It's too damn hard and too damn frustrating and I never should have done this. I came to a fork in the road and I chose wrong. I am a damn fool."
Maybe you feel this way about your job.
Or your kids.
Or your spouse/partner.
Or your gender identity.
Or your sexual orientation (choosing to be out about it, that is).
We are the masters of our lives. We make choices and when we are faced with the consequences of those choices, we also get to choose how to respond. When something gets really hard, do we choose to eject our seat or do we choose to dig in deeper to shift or change something to make it work better? Or to even find out if that's possible? Is one choice more right or wrong than the other? Depends on who you ask--everyone will have an opinion based on how that person responds to anything in his/her life.
You have to live with the consequences of your choices--but you will also learn from them. I truly believe there's no such thing as a wrong decision or mistake--because every choice we make leads us to where we are for something important we need to learn. If it's an extremely painful, difficult lesson, it must mean we are strong enough to learn it.
The truth is, I don't regret my transition--really. I made the decision to transition and I chose to accept the consequences. Because I did this, whenever I feel discouraged, I remind myself that it was my choice. No one forced my hand. While certain aspects of living out as transgender truly challenge me, I also get to experience life in a way only a small percentage of the population can. In addition to some really cool insights about people and society, I've developed a tremendous capacity for patience and understanding that eluded me for most of my life. It's still a work a progress but absolutely one of many gifts I've received.
Try this with something in your own life. What makes you feel regret? What can you learn from it? Feeling regret and discouragement is a beautiful thing--when we can allow it to actually come up. It's a guidepost for what we want to do next, sort of like those Choose Your Own Adventure books. I think we find so much more power when we allow those thoughts to surface and say things out loud like, "I never should have married this person" or "I never should have chosen to transition." WOW, that's honest. It really helps us truly consider how much we mean it and get to the core of who we were and who we want to be.
And then we get to choose what happens next.
Image from SuperFantastic