There’s a lot of different topics going on here. First off, the thing to do with regret is neither to wallow in it nor push it from consciousness — it is to meet and befriend the part of yourself that caused you to do those things in the first place. This tends to be known as your Shadow self. Integration of your Shadow is the way to become a more whole person who has greater access to all of their brilliance and gifts. Debbie Ford has a wonderful short book about how to do this called The Dark Side of The Light Chasers.
“Through the stories and exercises in The Dark Side of the Light Chasers, Debbie Ford shows us not only how to recognize our hidden emotions, but also how to find the gifts they offer us. This is for fans of Marianne Williamson, Neale Donald Walsch, and Deepak Chopra. The very impulses we most fear may be the key to what is lacking in our lives.”
I don’t know how anyone could have gone through war and not be touched by it, particularly as such a young man. As I said, those scars live in your soma (body self), and not just in your emotions or head. This is a part of mainstream trauma care in many places now to recognize that. If you decided to pursue it, you likely could find some type of program for veterans that could help with that. Another possibility is to seek out a soul retrieval from a shamanic practitioner. Parts of ourself dissociate in order to stay safe during traumatic times. The healer goes into non-ordinary reality and brings those back, so that they can be integrated back into the person in a body in the here and now. It is incredibly powerful and healing work and one of the staples of my healing practice. I’m not trolling to bring you on as a client here, but if you ever were so inclined, I could help you find a practitioner.
What other people do and say has little to do with how you interface with your own emotions. Again, I’m not advocating being awash in and at the mercy of emotions; I’m saying that you can use them as a tool. And not acknowledging them doesn’t make them go away. In fact, quite the opposite. If you refuse to dance with your emotions, they will run you like a puppet and you won’t even realize it. As Carl Jung said, “You must make the unconscious conscious or it will direct your life and you will call it fate.”
I find it really interesting that you look at your emotions as being somewhat toxic, and at the risk of sounding like a broken record, that is a part of what is considered masculine by a patriarchal society. Men (and really everyone, because masculine traits are best) should always be stoic, in control, strong, etc. Meanwhile, that’s demanding that you cut off part of your natural human being self. It’s literally killing men that we ask this of them.
Why Do We Murder the Beautiful Friendships of Boys?
How an epidemic of loneliness is endangering American men — and how to fix it
“Professor Way’s research shows us that in early adolescence, boys express deeply fulfilling emotional connection and love for each other, but by the time they reach adulthood, that sense of connection evaporates. This is a catastrophic loss — one that we assume men will simply adjust to. They do not. Millions of men are experiencing a sense of deep loss that haunts them even if they are engaged in fully realized romantic relationships, marriages, and families.”
I completely and totally respect your right to live your life as you see fit, so all of this is just my thoughts and perspective with no “shoulds” attached. However, it has given me some story ideas, so thanks for that and as usual, always interesting and intellectually stimulating to chat with you.