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Life Lessons (from Captain James T. Kirk)

In Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, Captain Kirk is confronted by Dr. Mccoy and Sybok (Spock’s brother) about a unique proposal. Sybok, a Vulcan recluse, appears to have somehow gained the ability to remove human pain and sorrow in the way that maybe a doctor removes a headache.

Sybok wants to do this for the captain. McCoy and Sybok plead with Kirk to permit this.

Here’s the exact dialogue from that scene:

MCCOY (imploring) Jim, try to be open about this. KIRK About what? That I've made the wrong choices in my life? That I went left when I should've gone right? I know what my weaknesses are. I don't need Sybok to take me on a tour of them. MCCOY If you'd just unbend and allow yourself-- KIRK To be brainwashed by this man? MCCOY I was wrong. This "con man" took away my pain! KIRK Dammit, Bones, you're a doctor. You know that pain and guilt can't be taken away with the wave of a magic wand. They're the things we carry with us -- the things that make us who we are. If we lose them, we lose ourselves. I don't want my pain taken away. I need my pain.

The Other Side Of Regret

It’s not written on paper and it doesn’t exist in a blog. But rather it’s etched on your heart. Captain Kirk keeps one. It’s dear to him and it’s called a book of regrets.

People are often asked whether they have regrets and it is common to hear some variation of: “I have no regrets” or “my mistakes have made me who I am.” But this misses the point of what it means to learn something.

Having “no regrets” is not the same as having had regrets and because of them, altered course. The former is kind of a willful ignorance. The latter means that you have arrived at the other side of your regret.

Regret transforms from darkness into light only with reflection. The key is to learn how to take in regrets without being taken in by them.

Regret and pain are very real things. They can be ignored and denied. But they don’t go away. You can leave them behind and not revisit them by avoiding the same types of choices that led to regret in the first place.

If you come to view some of your actions as not reflecting well the way in which you see yourself, then you’ve gained insight. Emphasis on the word “sight.” It’s a good thing to view. Rather than ignoring sorrow, the regretful may something from seek to learn from it — and change. With effort you may be able to transform your pain into something useful. Maybe even something beautiful.

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