Regret About a Past Decision


I have been in despair and feel deep regret over this. I was once granted a scholarship for a discipline I never considered studying, but, even on the advice of parents, I took another path I always wanted and instead studied something else. This led to an odyssey of disasters, which was a learning process, only to make me realize that what was granted initially fit well! Would you please tell me a bit about coming full circle/ second chances? Society may not be so kind for second chances.

—K, US


We have many lessons to learn over many lifetimes, and what you are experiencing now is one of them – not only finding that a long-ago decision you made was not the right one, but also feeling regret for what has been done and cannot be undone.

It’s really good to grab this one by the horns and look it straight in the eye.

For one, we have to learn by making just such mistakes as the one you have described. In fact, this is the only way we learn such lessons: through our own direct experience of what it feels like to take a direction that is not right for us.

No one can tell us about such a thing. But once we have experienced it, we will most likely never forget.

We learn from our mistakes, if we take the time to realize that that is what they are there for. As Yogananda said: “There are no obstacles, only opportunities.”

You may feel that other people are judging you for what you’ve done. You cannot afford to linger on that thought. The only choice you have before you now is to say, “Well, that really wasn’t the right thing!” And then to move forward, with all your focus and energy, into what is the right thing. If you have come full circle, so be it. Please try not to spend any more time feeling regret and despair. You must fight these thoughts as they will only drag you down.

Simply feel that now is the time to move forward with as much energy as you can muster. At least you seem to know that the original idea was the right one! That’s a good start.

Swami Kriyananda tells of how he overcame a bad habit by simply saying, each time he fell back into it, “I haven’t yet succeeded.” This left him with a positive thought even though he was still engaging in the habit, and the positive thought eventually built up enough momentum that he was able to stop that habit completely.

I would suggest you do the same thing. And I wouldn’t give a second thought to what other people may think. That’s simply a waste of time. You made a mistake, and perhaps it was a big one. But now it’s time to move forward. It’s good to remember that anyone who has succeeded greatly in life has been through what you are going through now. In fact, it might be good to read the lives of people such as Luther Burbank, Thomas Edison, Nicola Tesla, George Washington Carver and others who had to go through many trials in their lives in regard to their work.

And as you move forward, pray to the masters to guide you in your decisions and in your life generally. They will be there for you if you open to them, and will add their blessings to what you are trying to do.