The Seesaw of Regret and Worry

I wonder if you, like me, remember seesaws in the playgrounds of your youth?

Do you remember that constant motion of rising and falling with a partner being your seesaw counter balance? It was much more fun to be in that seesaw motion than to stay still – one up, one down – or trying to find that perfect, equal balance of a spirit level bubble.

Occasionally, we’d challenge each other to balance.
Occasionally, one or the other of us might “stay down” so our partner was left hanging  “up there”.
Generally, the play was continuous seesawing.

For some reason, I was prodded to write about the seesaw effect of how we often think.

On one side of the seesaw is regret and on the other worry.

How much of how we think and what we do is regret based?

  • Focused on the past
  • Trying to make up for lost time or missed opportunities
  • Feeling bad for what we didn’t say or do.

And how much of how we think and what we do is worry based?

  • Future focused
  • Feeling afraid and concerned about what might happen
  • Procrastinating and over planning “jut in case”

The past has gone and is NEVER coming back.  The future is not yet here and can rarely be FULLY predicted.

So energy we invest on seesawing between regret and worry can be –

  • unproductive and often unhelpful
  • energy draining
  • disempowering
  • a way to keep physically, mentally and emotionally busy

I wonder if we invest our energy in wiser ways instead we might reap different rewards? I wonder if asking some simple questions might prove valuable?

The Past

  • What can I learn so I don’t make the same mistakes or miss similar opportunities?
  • What insights about myself are helpful and could raise my self awareness for the future?
  • What can I acknowledge and accept as “done” and let go of?

The Future

  • What do I know for sure that I need to prepare for?
  • What unknowns can I acknowledge and accept, as “what will be will be” and let go of?
  • How can I feel positive and encouraged about what is or might come to be?

Of course these are the two ends of the seesaw.

Another vital area, that actually makes the seesawing motion possible, is the fulcrum; a certain, central point on which the seesaw can pivot up and down. When you are neither seeing nor sawing you are balanced in a state of equilibrium and often using minute adjustments to maintain level stability.

So the fulcrum can be seen as neither the past nor the future. It is more like the present moment. A moment that is not necessarily a state of complete stillness it is a state of

  • conscious focused attention
  • sensing and feeling
  • calm flow
Photo by Shiva Smyth from Pexels

In between regret and worry then is the opportunity for presence. Here all there is to do is be. With every present moment comes another opportunity to refocus if you’ve started to tilt towards one end or the other.

For a while now, as I’ve mentioned before, I’ve been using the Calm app to help me find moments of presence and equilibrium: moments where I focus solely on breathing. I do the Daily Calm meditation on average 6 days a week for 10 minutes first thing in the morning. It’s a way for me to start my day in a focused positive way. It’s a practice in progress because my mind is tempted by the seesaw – even first thing in the morning.

However, I enjoy it and it’s my intention to progress to longer sessions bit by bit. I’m learning through the practice that it’s an active not a passive activity. I constantly have to bring my thoughts back from the external world or the seesaws in my mind – and that’s all part of the process.

What about you?

  • Are you on your own seesaw and constantly playing the up and down game?
  • Are you stuck down on the regret set or up on the worry seat?
  • What one thing could help you be more of a fulcrum in a state of conscious balance?
  • How would you feel if you could shift – even just a little bit?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this and any of my blogs so please drop and comment below.

The blog has been active for a month now and I appreciate all your comments.

I’m wondering if after reading a few blogs, you feel someone you know might be interested or get some insight for themselves through reading the blog; if so, please do share the blog with them.

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