I had a dream, actually a series of dreams, about my college boyfriend. So I sank into the memories and etchings of that experience on my soul. What I came up with was regret. Not regret that we are no longer together, but regret over the energetics of the interaction.
Boy, was I a jerk. I was a typical pitta imbalanced, self-centered, narcissist. And I had a good amount of vata imbalance: codependency, poor impulse control and need for drama. Looking back I can see I was a pitta predominant young thang in the pitta stage of life, with a lot of vata coming in from transition, travel, routine, and food.
Some of the relationship pattern came from the imprint of similar aspects of my parents’ relationship; and likely he stayed with me because it mirrored the unhealthy facets of his parents’ relationship. Looking back, I see the regret is really that I hurt him.
I don’t think I’ve really ever set out to hurt anyone intentionally. Even this was a hurt I caused because I wasn’t paying attention. I was so focused on me and the effects of my choices on me, that I disregarded how he would be affected.
Therein were the seeds of disconnection with the universe. From there flourished other poor decisions rooted in that basic disconnection. As Dr. Vandana Shiva describes wellness in communion with each other, “true democracy,” it’s making choices that are in awareness of their impact on the whole–in this case our relationship.
We are still in touch and he has, in a very mature manner, moved past our tumultuous relationship to be on good terms. I think we are still friends in part because I was able to take responsibility for my poor choices and own my mistakes. Of course, in the same situation today, I have the wisdom to handle situations with more grace and awareness.
What I wish I knew then, and truly felt in this exploration of regret, is that when you hurt any living being, you hurt yourself. You lose trust and respect for yourself. In addition, you invite fear of being hurt by others into your experience of life.
The kind of hurt I created came from lack of awareness and emotional immaturity. When you have practices to be aware of emotional needs, and make non-impulsive choices, you are likely not going to create that kind of hurt.
Instead of worrying about what kind of hurt you may cause, or have caused, emphasize internal-external alignment in your decision making moving forward. If every cell of my being is not feeling good about a decision or situation, it’s likely not the right decision or situation for me at this time.
If you’ve been on the other side, and been hurt by someone’s lack of awareness and emotional immaturity, know that they didn’t have the capacity to meet your emotional needs at that time. The reason why they didn’t have the capacity (from stress to stupidity) doesn’t matter. What does matter is the realization that you always have the choice to leave situations that don’t match your emotional needs, and you will once you make your emotional wellness a priority.
My college boyfriend kept choosing to be with me despite the fact that I treated him poorly because he didn’t know how to show up for his emotional needs. After our breakup, he went to therapy, and learned to address that unhealthy pattern, and attracted a wife that meets his emotional needs in a way I never could.
So in summary, a heart-opening meditation for all of us that have a roller-coaster ride of a relationship in our past:
own your poor choices
reflect on where the seeds of disconnection were in those choices (usually they are first between us and our spirit, and then between us and our loved ones)
apologize (if you haven’t already…and yes, this is part of the 12 step programs)
consider where you are today as a blessing to not be in that past cycle of hurt or hurting
When I took a few minutes to close my eyes, and really do this internal dialogue, I felt a restrictive feeling in my chest (which I didn’t realize was even there before) dissipate. I felt expansive and light, and unafraid to love and relate again. In other words, I let go of some stagnant emotions (Kapha) and heaviness. This is a practice that is healing year around, but perhaps even more poignant in the Spring–spring cleaning your heart.