Have you noticed that when we talk about regret, the word ‘feel’ precedes it? According to the Cambridge Dictionary, regret is a “feeling of sadness about something sad or wrong or about a mistake that you have made, and a wish that it could have been different and better.”
As human beings are bound to make mistakes every now and then, there are times in our lives when we wish we chose a different path or decided on a better option. No one is excused from feeling regret, not even the Malaya Achievers. Often seen by other Rotaractors as smart, determined, and tough, some people forget that these young people also make mistakes. They also feel regret for their actions whether it has a small impact or a big one.
Looking back at our past actions is also second nature to us. As the Transform Year comes to a close, Malaya Achievers look back and chat about their regrets to date. Read how these young people feel about their regrets and how they have coped with them.
MDIO Chair Louie de Real
“I sometimes regret that I tend to forget quality time with friends. Sometimes, we get used to the idea that we are social because we talk to people most of the time, especially with my position right now as the MDIO chair. There are times that [I] feel like I need someone to talk to but I don’t get the courage to reach out because that would make me vulnerable. Or if I share these personal troubling thoughts, I might affect the positive energy of that person. There will be those days that eventually would make me feel alone and lonely. But I know sometimes you have to build quality time with people beyond the usual organizational stuff. There were a lot of times that I wanted to establish a deeper connection with someone I find interesting in the organization but then I stepped back because I felt like I didn’t want to be hurt. I didn’t want to be judged or be rejected. But then I realized that taking risks is part of the game if you want to win against someone.“
“I joined Rotaract in 2016. My goal was to expand my network and build myself professionally by building other’s lives in our community. I could say that my passion is volunteerism. With my limited time in Rotaract because of the age limit, I pushed myself and paved my path to becoming the President. With all the sacrifices, in 2 years, I became the president of our club. I was ecstatic with the thought of making my dreams into reality.
My perception of being a president is to become the strongest and that I should put a “happy face” to lead. But, I was wrong. This is where my regrets start. I know that being a president is hard, that is why I don’t want my members to see that I’m tired. I want to encourage them to push themselves and to be inspired to become an officer in our club someday.
I’m always saying “Kaya ‘yan” (We can do it!). I thought that’s the best way of leadership. But it’s not. There came a time that we had a major project and we invited different Rotaractors, it was the same day that my grandfather died. I didn’t tell my clubmates because my mindset is to finish the project. I put on my happy face but my heart back then was tearing apart.
I asked myself “Was it worth it?” My regret is not being vulnerable. I was not true to myself.
After my presidency, I took time to assess all the things that I have done. I disconnected myself from others to reconnect with myself. I allowed myself to become vulnerable. If I were given a chance to change my past, I would not allow it because if it didn’t happen to me, I will not be the same person I am today.“
Both Rotaractors see vulnerability as a weakness. But in reality, it is the other way around. Being upfront and open to be vulnerable is an important leadership trait. Being able to admit and share especially in times of weakness, even in a public setting, is a way for leaders to earn trust from those they lead. Showing weakness and not hiding from imperfection lets others know that you are human too.
Past President Giselle Fuguracion
“I regret not spending enough time with my mom. I was too busy with my career and volunteering. I made a lot of mistakes too and from them, I learned to balance my life.”
PP Giselle is known for giving her all in whatever she does. Little did she know that she was spending less time with her family and more with outside activities. The loss of her mom led her to realize how short the time she spent with her mom.
“Life is short. That is why I am now focusing on my family while they are still around. Besides, we are getting old and time will come when we will go our separate ways.
I found my priorities now:
I value what is important here on Earth and they are not material things. It is the self that is most important as you are responsible for your happiness.“
Professional Development Director Leandro Milan
“On May 16, 2006, and 2009 was my greatest regret – that was when my mom (Mamay) and my dad (Papay) passed away.
I remember the day as if it were yesterday. The day was just a normal day for us. My mom, dad, Leni, and I had lunch in our simple bamboo hut in our hometown, Masbate. In a blink of an eye, my mom who was a loving, caring person and the bravest woman I knew suddenly felt uneasy.
To cut the story short, my beloved mom passed away after weeks of pain and difficulty. She passed away while holding my right hand, staring at me. She died peacefully without closing her eyes. That moment was the heaviest I have felt. It was one of the deepest wounds in my heart.
For the next few years, my life was a blur. It was very different, I’ve always felt that there is one part of my life that was missing. I missed my parents so badly.
As time went by I started to think of all the things that my parents and I had not done together, all the things they missed in life. I regret not doing more for them when they are still alive. I regret not thanking them for all the things they did for me. I regret not saying sorry for making them feel bad or for upsetting them. I regret not making an effort to help them when they needed my help. I have many regrets when it comes to all of the things I could’ve done and did not do.
Now that they are gone, I realized how much I didn’t do for them. If I could go back in time and be a better son I would do it without thinking.“
Leandro still carries the burden of his regrets of the past. If he could turn back time, he would change his attitude and stop being selfish.
“It has been almost 14 years since my mom and almost 11 years for dad when they passed away but I still feel terrible. But I believed that it was already written as part of my book of life. Therefore, I could do nothing about what already happened in the past. What I can do now is to take that opportunity to persevere and strive hard to achieve my goals in life so I could change my future.
I learned to forgive myself for not being grateful for what I have achieved throughout this journey of my life. If that regret never happened to me, I couldn’t imagine what my life would look like if I didn’t encounter that regret, maybe because I’ve learned to accept it from the start.“
From these stories, we see that regret varies from person to person. Regret can come after the loss of a loved one or letting an opportunity pass by. The question is, is it still regretful even when you learn something from it?
“The lesson I want to share with my co-Rotaractor is this: Regretting is not regret if you learned something from it.”
What if you have no regrets at this point in your life? What should we do in case we have one?
Club Development Director Scott James Choa
“I have no regrets so far and in case I have one, I will confront it. If this is a person, I talk to him or her. If this is a situation, I will face it; and if this is within myself, then I need to build up my confidence to reshape it so I can be my better version again.
If I can change things from the past and make it according to my preference, I think I prefer to still face the same challenges and receive the same learnings in life. The reason why we are facing these challenges is that we are not learning how to apply them in our life. No matter how we change our stories, if we are not changing our perspective, values, and discipline, we will still face the same challenge with or without our regrets.”
To sum up, here is an advice from Leandro Milan:
“What I have learned from this situation was this: I want people to never go to sleep mad at someone or without telling the person “I love you” because you never know if they will wake up. I want people to learn from my mistakes and appreciate their loved ones. I want people to always show how they love their parents, and make them feel that they are blessed to have you.
I feel a lot better than before and I am still trying to learn from the circumstances that come my way. Instead of thinking of all my regrets, I should focus on the beautiful moments and memories we had together.”
Whether you are a Rotaractor or not, it is natural for you to feel regret and look back on your past mistakes. They are part of our lives so we can learn to grow from them. Learn to embrace regrets and past mistakes as they are stepping stones to the life you want and the person you want to be.