Guilt and regret are dangerous. They are a disease that manifests in your brain and brings you down. Through life, everyone does and says things that they ultimately regret or feel guilty about. Some things are bad (perhaps killing someone). Others are not as bad (calling someone a name). However, regardless of what it is, if you are unable to get over the guilt and regret, you will have a very hard time moving forward.
As I mentioned, most everyone has done something in their life that they regret or feel guilty about. I unfortunately have a short list of those items. But as time goes on, and I regret decisions I have made, I feel more and more guilty and that weighs on me and brings me down. It affects my well being, and my attitude towards life. How I treat others are affected by this as well.
For the last 11+ years, I have worked in the world of Business and Technology. And as I stated before, there were many aspects of this I have thoroughly enjoyed. Yet, there is something else missing. When I was growing up, I always felt encouraged that going into business was the smart/safe move and that is what I was focused on. Nothing else mattered. When I got into college, despite enjoying classes on Psychology more than business, I pursued this route. I was driven by success and money and figured that was the only way to be happy. I had a girl that made me happy (who I would eventually marry), and all I ever wanted was a safe/secure job that would allow me to provide for her and my family one day. What I didn’t count on, is that it wasn’t the money that made me happy. Helping others made me happy. My family makes me happy. If I am unhappy, how can I be the best father and husband I can be? The short answer to that is: I can’t.
After my first job ended, I almost went back to school. But I was engaged and wanted to provide for my future bride. I figured I would find the right job that would meet most of my needs. I didn’t. I left to find another job. I failed there too. Without realizing it, I was falling into a hole of negativity. I was living with this regret for not choosing the right major in college and the right career path. I felt guilty that I was not being fair to those I loved. They all deserved more. I wouldn’t say I was unbearable to be around, but I wasn’t pleasant either.
Last year was a cray year filled with stress. We sold out house, moved in with my in-laws, bought a house, I changed jobs at work, my wife quit her job to attend to her start-up full time, and everything changed. I started to recognize my unhappiness at work as I changed roles. I was trying to fill a void by going about it the same way I always did. According to Albert Einstein, that is the definition of Insanity: “Doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results.” Near the end of the year, I started to seek out counseling. I was unhappy with my decisions. My regret was causing guilt and I was taking it out on those around me. I saw how I was treating my in laws, my friends, my children and my wife. I was pushing people away. I was not being fair.
When speaking to my therapist, we have discussed many topics, including my career. I told her I felt stuck and that it was too late. She assured me it was not too late and that I could make things right. For me, making it right was doing something that would fulfill me away from my family. I can make a good living, provide for my family and spend time with them, while doing something I can enjoy.
I am slowly starting my process. I am working hard at my job. I am planning to go back to school. And by the time I am 40 (I am in my early 30’s), I hope to be on a brand new career path.
Sometimes happiness is right under your nose.
Have a great day!
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