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skateangel's avatar

How do you handle huge regrets?

Asked by skateangel (298 points ) January 27th, 2012

I’m 20 years old but already have alot of horrible regrets that
eat me up everyday. Basically it’s all because I have social anxiety/shyness problems and that’s caused me to miss out on so much that most people my age experience. I remember being a good student when I was younger but couldn’t go to high school because I was too afraid and ended up missing out on everything; all those special life experiences, friends, relationships, growing as a person…even my education. I just feel like I wasted everything:( Everything I could’ve had and done and been. Everyone my age has memories and experiences and everything about growing up and I have nothing but these petty, childish fears. I feel like I can’t do anything, not even the most basic thing like talking to people. Let alone have a relationship with anyone…I messed up everything in my life, all the chances I had, and now I don’t even have any friends because of it. The people I used to know back in elementary school (which was my last school experience) have all gone off to universities and have had all those teen experiences and going off to bigger things and I’m still just..nothing. I recentely tried to at least take some classes at a community college but I even ended up getting the door shut in my face with that too. and the only classes I could get into, I chickened out. Like always. So now it’s back to absolutely nothing at all:( I don’t know if anyone here can relate…but it’s just really depressing. I know I can’t take back time. How do you think I should deal with all of this? Is it even fixable. My mom says to just get over it but I can’t. It took away everything.
Please help

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23 Answers

auhsojsa's avatar

It’s tough it’s constant for me. But I keep moving forward and grinding away. I was so obsessed with this facade that everything goes in certain order because that’s how I was taught as a child. But the truth is, you can still move forward and the door is wide open we can still make good by learning from the past!

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Would you set out to the store, but stop at the driveway?

Would you proceed to play tennis, enter the court, yet never pick up a ball?

Would you set sail on a journey, yet never raise the sail or pick up an oar?

Such is regret… The first step on a great journey. Stopping there won’t get you anywhere. But noting regret as the first step of many, including acceptance, forgiveness, learning, enlightenment, creation… then regret is seen as a prize, a gift, a tool for a time, but one that must be moved beyond to receive the final results it started.

auhsojsa's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies great answer! I often think, “well I know how it is on the other side” so I can speak and do from now on with experience.

Coloma's avatar

You just have to keep taking baby steps and change your thinking.
The old saying of “fake it til you make it.”
When you “act as if”, you are literally faking out your brain and since our thoughts DO create our feelings, you must become very self aware when your thinking is sabbotaging what you say you want.
I can also say, as a mature woman in her early 50’s that it takes most of us the first 40 years of life or so to really get a handle on some of our fears and anxieties.

We are ever evolving, sooo, at 20, well….most 20 year olds feel very unsure of themselves, so you are not some freak of the planet.
My daughter is 24 and her boyfriend of 3 years has absolutely blossomed. ( read: matured )
He was, at one time, completely friendless, very painfully shy, but smart as they come, and now, he is supervisor at his work, has overcome much of his social anxiety, and being sandwiched between my daughter and myself who are extroverted and outgoing, he has learned to really open up and have FUN!

Everyone needs to be taking constant steps to improve their confidence level, self esteem.
As far as regrets….your mom is right, just stop it!
Regrets are nothing more than thoughts you keep playing in your mind, the past is the past and all you have is RIGHT NOW! Wasting vital emotional energy on pointless mind stories of regret is completely counter productive to what you wish to achieive in the moment.

I’d suggest reading some inspirational and motivational books, cds. Maybe consider some therapy, and hypnosis is a great way to untangle some of your hardcore subconscious thought patterns and replace self defeating thoughts and behaviors by re-programming your subconscious to hold move positive thoughts.

Trust me, someday you will look back and wonder ” what was I so afraid of?!”
Best wishes!

Akua's avatar

I can relate. I have been so angry over the past few days because I started thinking how I have no good childhood memories. No proms or graduations. My parents never took me to the movies, the zoo or the Botanical Gardens. I was very much emotionally and physically abused and neglected and I’m surprised I was able to succeed as far as I have. But at 42 I know that it’s not too late and it’s not too late for you either. If possible can you find a good therapist who can work with you? I can’t tell you how much it has helped me to talk to somoeone. I used to be ashamed because I thought I was all alone but there are a lot of people in the world just like us. I have a lot of regrets but instead of beating myself up about what I missed, I’m making up for it now. This past year I had my very first birthday party complete with hats and paper streamers. And I’m not done yet, I have a whole list of things I’m going to try to do. Every now and then I still get afraid and I only have 1 or 2 real friends but it’s a start. You can do this! I have faith in you. Start small. And remember don’t beat yourself up and don’t let others do it either.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I like the small step idea. There’s a famous quote, “A journey of 1000 miles begins with a single step”. You’ve got plenty of time to turn things around, just try to figure out why you can’t get yourself to make the effort.

GrayTax's avatar

@Coloma Great answer! You said so much that I tried and failed to put into words. I am, at present, pretty much where your daughters boyfriend was 3 years ago; his story’s given me inspiration to try harder to “fake it until I make it”. And @skateangel, on that subject, I’ve found a couple of lifehacker’s recent self-helpy/psychology based articles (along with a few older ones too) quite helpful in getting me on track with things. I’m by no means back to where I was 6 months ago, but it’s definitely helping (more-so than the unhelpful “just get over it” type stuff my mother also likes to offer up as advice…).

Baby steps, and good luck! :D

Coloma's avatar

@GrayTax You’re welcome! Now pull up your pull ups and take those baby steps! You’re a big boy now! ;-D

EverRose11's avatar

One day at a time.

linguaphile's avatar

Regret is like a horrible, low grade horror flick that you watch over and over and overandoverandoverandoverandadinfinitum…. and just as valuable.

Regret’s lesson is in the letting go.

Coloma's avatar

More motivational stories about my daughters BF.
He was extremely lonely, no friends, no social life except his brother and cousin that he played video games with online. He did have some collage classes he was taking.
He ran an ad for friends on C’sList and my daughter responded.

They were friends for awhile online, then met after a month or two I think.
She introduced him to some of her friends and was very reserved, uptight, it was tough.
Eventually he started feeling more comfortable and it was so cute.
The first time he wanted to show my daughter how much he liked her he gave her a Valentine he had made as she was dropping him off at home.

He literally shoved it in her hand and jumped out of the car and ran away. lol
Awwww….the rest is history and they have been living together for almost 2 years now. :-D
This kid went from near suicidally depressed and lonely to a beautiful girlfriend, a new job and living together with all sorts of new friends in less than a year!!!!

I hope he becomes my SIL..I love this guy and he treats my daughter like a goddess. What more could a mama ask for? lol

Go boy go!

GrayTax's avatar

@Coloma That really is motivational! He sounds like a pretty great guy and it sounds like they’re really happy together so I’m incredibly happy for them :D I hope you get your wish too. Do I hear bells?

IzzyAndHerBeans's avatar

Moving on means understanding what you did in the first place – if anything. Not every regret is that specific person’s fault. I was abused as a 15 year old girl and it took about 2 years of treatment to help me get to the place I am today. Time heals several things, but sometimes, you just gotta get out of there and start living. I always sit in my room and contemplate going out and doing things. I get mad at myself when I don’t just get up and do it. My advice is to attempt to change your mind set from loneliness to excitement. Try to be excited about the little things in life and don’t get caught up in what’s not there or what did happen in the past. The past is yesterday or the day before or the day before that day. Not today. Today is Friday.

linguaphile's avatar

You also seem to be asking how to get out of the anxiety rut you’re stuck in. Your question talks about regret, but your details talk about feeling stuck.

From your details, I encourage you to see a therapist to figure out the core of your anxiety. You might have a bigger obstacle holding you back than regret. Regret’s the result, but what’s the cause for the anxiety?

BoyWonder's avatar

Buy this book and apply what you read to your life. I promise it will change your life but you must apply the knowledge. It’s changing my life as we speak. Best of luck to you.

skateangel's avatar

Thanks for all the advice guys but I think I’m just too depressed to feel like I can help myself…It just kills me cause it’s like I’m so incomplete and inferior to everyone, not just in life but education too. I don’t think I can ever just let go of it cause it was such a huge mistake.
I wouldn’t have been this messed up and incomplete if I didn’t waste such an important part of my life. It’s like having those experiences makes you the person you are when you’re older (pretty much my age) and that’s why I’m no one. cause I had nothing. Some people who are my age told me online (I could never talk to them in real life) about all the happiness they had in high school with their boyfriends and girlfriends and all those great experiences and it’s just heartbreaking. Cause I don’t have anything to say. No one would bother to notice me in real life anyway cause I can’t talk… It’s like I slept through my life up until now and now that I’ve woken up it’s all too messed up to be fixed.

I’ve been begging my mom for years to let me see a therapist to at least talk to someone about these issues but she always gets angry and won’t let me..I can’t even go by myself cause I rely on her to talk for me, which is pathetic. so im stuck

CaptainHarley's avatar

It sounds to me as if you might have hormonally-linked anxiety. I strongly recommend seeing your doctor and telling him or her what you have told us here. They can run some tests to determine if your anxiety is physical or mental or, as is usually the case, an interaction of both.

You can indeed recover the years you think you lost, but it’s going to take some effort on your part. The more professional help you can get along the way, the more quickly you can recover. Good luck. I’ll be praying for you! : )

linguaphile's avatar

@skateangel Every part of your life is important in different ways. You can spend the next few years mourning the years you lost, then in a few years, you’ll look back and realize you’ve lost more years because you invested them in mourning.

Or, you can start today as if it’s your first day, and start small, start moving, start living, then.. in a few years you’ll be in a very different place you are today. If you don’t start moving, in 5, 10 years you’ll be in the exact same spot—but if you make small steps, even the tiniest little step, in 5 years, you’ll look around and find yourself in a new spot. If you can’t do it alone, that’s okay, get help.

Good luck… I hope you do start taking steps—

creative1's avatar

Today you can begin to live life as you always wanted to do…. the great thing about the past is its the past and each day brings a fresh start where you can decide to just start little by little getting past your fears and getting yourself out there. I suggest seeing a psycologist and see if they can help you get past all your fears so you can start really enjoying and living your life instead of being afraid. Don’t look back and feel bad about something you are unable to change, look towards the future. If you do look back just say to yourself, I am not going to let my fear/s rule my present and future like they did in the past.

I try to always learn from what I feel like are mistakes or mis-steps in my life and move forward.

Never forget the past but don’t let it define who you want to become in the future

leopardgecko123's avatar

just ask Jesus.
turning to him was the only thing that worked for me and all my shame and self hate.
all those wise and inspirational phrases about never looking back and don’t dwell on past things did not work at all.
if you don’t agree with me, (and I’m not just talking to @skateangel) please don’t tell me. I know a lot of people disagree with me.
I’ll pray for you though! something will happen eventually!

BoyWonder's avatar

Hey, you’ve just got to want it bad enough.

Fluthyou's avatar

One thing to note is that you’re young, I feel like depending on where you are there are lots of therapy type things offered to youth. Schools typically offer it for free. Community centres. Help lines.

Inspired_2write's avatar

Your life is not over.
Take it one step at a time.
When you are in your comfort zone you will proceed on to living a good life.

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