I remember every word that has left my mouth in anger. I remember every time that I have hurt another human being knowingly or not. I remember each time I spoke in reaction instead of compassion. It's the times when I knowingly chose the easy route out or the times when I didn't know how to react so I just did nothing that are the moments for me that hold real regret. It's the times when I betrayed or didn't act within the space of what I know to be true that haunt me. I have been called every name under the sun. I have been bullied, coerced, gaslighted, manipulated, physically and sexually preyed upon and the pain of all of those experiences are nothing compared to the moments when I didn't stand in my own truth.
My first real regret, which might surprise you, is when I chose not to dance. Yes, as a young man I was a pretty good mover and shifter. So much so that I was asked to join a dance company! Rehearsals went well right up until the point that they began to mention doing a hyper masculine bare chested performance on stage, in front of a whole bunch of people. I was so lacking in confidence about my body at the time and so filled with fear about being vulnerable in that way that I did the only thing that made sense to me. I quit. I don't think I've ever really done contemporary dance again. I'm not being self deprecating when I say that I was never going to be a huge dancer but, I loved it and I let it go because I was afraid.
I parted from a life long friend a while ago. There was so much bad blood between us that now we barely speak. I'm not sure if our friendship was meant to last a whole lifetime or if it was something that was for a season in my life but I do know this. When things got dark and heavy between us I didn't speak my truth. I got quiet and ghosted myself from everyone's life. I was so afraid of being hurt that I hurt myself by not speaking m truth. It was the lack of truth telling that lead the situation into becoming one of the most toxic interactions I've ever experienced.
It's the points in my life like these that stay with me. The points where I didn't know what I needed so I didn't even know what to ask for. It's the times when I was so hurt I couldn't speak. It's in the hundred and one ways I learned to play small, and keep myself quiet that, during times in my life like this I still find myself struggling to be free of. I have managed to learn from it. I now know that the truth, no matter how much it hurts to say is the only door you can walk through to even begin healing your pain. I know that even when I don't know what to ask for I can ALWAYS ask for compassion. Even if my truth is, “I'm not sure.”, that's O.K too.
I have seen too many people create a lifestyle of collecting regrets. I lived in that space for a while and it was without question the loneliest time of my life. Telling the truth about where you are and what you're going through won't always fix everything but it's the only place you can ever really start. If you look back over your pain, as we are being spiritually encouraged to do so right now, take some time to dig into the truth of the lessons you learned. The moments when you didn't listen to your own unique voice. The moments when you didn't listen to your instinct. Even the moments when you got so muddled you couldn't hear any internal guidance and you forgot to ask. Go gently in your examination. Don't be afraid of it still hurting a little. Some things will always sting a bit.
Let your regrets, your shame, your blame and your anger come to the surface and hold them to the light of the truth within you. It's only in admitting where you are that you can then use it as a stronger foundation to leap from.
Ryan James x
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