It is always important to grow and progress in life. that is why a human being is called a mehalech….he goes from level to level. If one is not going forward, one moves backward. A human being does not stand still. We should not be satisfied to stay on the same level but must constantly strive to grow spiritually, refine ourselves more and more.
I was thinking the other day about how much my perspectives have changed in life. I often reflect upon how I would handle various situations today compared to the way I handled them in the past. Now I see things very differently, I realize much more that somehow I could not see before. It is really amazing how we see things differently at different stages in our lives.
When I was younger, somehow I could not realize very easily when people were not really well meaning or well intentioned. Now I am matured and see things in a different light. When I was younger people often took advantage of me, or hurt me. Now I would deal with those situations very differently. But obviously the fact that Hashem put me in those positions precisely when my perspective was more concealed or I was not so mature was to fulfill a certain purpose. It is only years later, when one’s perspective changes, that one can see things more sharply and clearly and realize how things should have been done.
We often regret many things. I know I regret many mistakes I made a parent. Now I would certainly do things differently. But my now is a result of years of growth and maturity. So I suppose we cant be too hard on ourselves. We do the best we can at each stage of life based upon our understanding, abilities, and levels. Of course we do regret. It says that everyone has regrets in life. The good thing is that if you regret while still in this physical world, you have a chance to do teshuvah, repentance, and also to possibly fix up many relationships or situations. After 120 years it says a person regrets but suffers because there is no way to fix things then. We would like to say things to people that we no longer have an opportunity to say. In fact I read somewhere that gehinom, lo lanu, is the experience of sincere regret each neshomah goes through when they come to the next world after 120 years and suddenly see things as they really are, from the level and perspective of absolute truth. At that point one realizes how many years were wasted on foolishness, arguments, nonsense and how many situations could have been rectified but opportunities were lost. and that experience of deep regret causes tremendous suffering, and also cleansing to the soul. May we all merit to repent while still in this world and to fix things and regret now. Or hopefully we just learn to do things right so we dont have too many regrets! But we do have to realize life is a constant situation of growth and going from level to level, strength to strength. Spritual growth is what we all have to strive for.