Regret, Type 1: Broken Personal Boundaries

In 2015, I wrote this piece about No Regrets, and it’s recently come back up in conversation.

@Lilianthorn mentioned self-image issues leading to regret, and I said that regret, to me, is more a boundary issue than a self-image issue, and she asked me to clarify.

I started to write, and realized this might be a better writing on boundaries…

To clarify, soft personal boundaries are often a result of self-image issues, so there is that link. I don’t think it’s as direct as posited, though.

regret

feel sad, repentant, or disappointed over (something that has happened or been done, especially a loss or missed opportunity).

So, there are two aspects, In the case of my No Regrets writing, I’m speaking specifically to regrets over what HAS been done.

And generally, people regret things they’ve done because they crossed their own picket lines, broke their boundaries, consented to things they did not want to consent to, etc.

Because regret is an upset turned inward.

Versus anger or other upsets turned outward.

Which is what happens when we KNOW someone else is at fault.

But when we blame ourselves, we have regret.

And guilt.

And we blame ourselves because we have a feeling that we could have changed the outcome, we didn’t respect ourselves, didn’t listen to our intuition, whatever.

And why do we do those things?

Sometimes it’s a self-image issue. We give in because we worry that we will not be included if we don’t, we won’t be liked, or, we won’t actually be a worth HUMAN if we don’t do the things.

Sometimes is a self-preservation thing. Upholding our boundaries may feel like it will put us in actual danger or harm. Emotional (yelling, name calling, bullying)
or physical (grabbing, hitting, beating, sexual assault). Better to just go along.

Other times, it’s expedience. We know upholding our boundaries will cause friction or an argument or whatever, so we let them slide. Not out of fear, but out of laziness.

We make the best choices we know how to make in the moment.

And when we make choices that cross those lines, they lead to regret, and we can learn from them, and grow into making better choices as we move forward.

And no matter where we are in our journey, we are valid people with a right to set personal boundaries and enforce them without fear of reprisal. It may not always happen. For some of us, it may happen rarely. But it is our right that we can claim with a lot of hard work (sad that it takes all that, truly).

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