I was listening to the song “Love You Anyway” by Luke Combs and it got me thinking about the topic of anxiety and regret.
One of the lyrics in the song is, “Even if I knew the day we met you'd be the reason this heart breaks, I'd love you anyway.”
I realized that so much of the anxiety that we feel about the future of our dating connections is really just a form of future-regret.
We think it's wrong that we got hurt in the past, and the anxiety is about trying to ensure that it never happens again in the future.
Another option that is available to us is to look back at something that didn't work out and not regret it, but still choose to go about things differently in the future.
I remember after a super painful breakup, I had two simultaneous thoughts.
I thought I should have left sooner because this person turned out to not be a great partner. I had a lot of regret about how much time I gave to the relationship to see if it could improve, all while being extremely emotionally uncomfortable in that situation.
And at the same time, I remember feeling like it had been the first relationship where I was really happy with the kind of girlfriend that I was and how I showed up.
Going forward, I didn't want to make the mistake again of believing too much in the potential for someone to change when they weren’t working on their challenges.
We can regret doing something that ended up causing us pain, and we can also regret who we were in a relationship, whether we made a lot of mistakes and hurt others or we didn't hold up necessary boundaries and hurt ourselves.
Anxiety can be an overcompensation for the feeling of regret.
Sometimes when we're regretting a painful experience or experience of ourselves that we didn't like, we overcompensate by being extremely hesitant, guarded, or disengaged. We go forward slowly, trying to do everything perfectly or just not do it at all.
The next time that you feel anxious, try to take a step back and think about what it is that you don't want to regret in the future.
Every romantic connection ends in heartbreak of some kind, whether the person passes away 40 years from now or you break up one month from now.
We will experience some version of heartbreak, and there can even be heartbreaks within the relationship when things go wrong.
Heartbreak is embedded into the experience of love... so why are we doing this?
Because what the hell else are we going to be doing in this lifetime?
Life is so short.
There’s not that much time. We're just put on planet Earth, and falling in love with people is one of the things we get to do while we're here. And you should never regret that.
You should never regret that you tried to love somebody.
You should never regret that someone loved you… no matter how it turned out.
See if there's anything from your past that you're wishing you didn’t experience and see if that's affecting how you feel about your future.
And listen to some country music, it will heal your soul.
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This content was originally published on the Women's Dating and Confidence Podcast. Listen on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.