Dealing with Regrets

In my travels as a speaker and sharing my story, I have the privilege of hearing many people’s stories. One of the lines I hear a lot is “I regret that…”

Regrets can lead to sorrow and leave us a bitter person or we can rise above them by finding a better way to live. Our regrets can actually motivate us to change or cause us to freeze in time, powerless to make any choices that would give us a better future.

ALL of us have some regrets. (It’s only human.)

I remember as a kid in second grade, I thought I would be funny and hide my shoe in a clump of grass so that I could stay outside longer when recess ended and look for my shoe.

Unfortunately, I didn’t realize there were clumps of grass everywhere and I forgot which clump was hiding my shoe! My teacher knew I was being a bit sneaky because I finally came into the schoolroom with only one shoe on. I regretted hiding my shoe and being embarrassed as I was late for the class. Today that seems like a silly regret with no big consequences.

As we get older, the regrets get deeper and are endless:

  • I regret not making good choices…
  • I regret being unkind to my family…
  • I regret marrying someone out of need and not love…
  • I regret not spending more time with those I love…
  • I regret exploding with anger toward my children…
  • I regret leaving my spouse…
  • I regret being a person that others cannot rely on…
  • I regret being too busy to live in the moment…
  • I regret missing out on things that really matter…

Regrets are like quicksand. They keep pulling us down into a mire of self-loathing. To live a life of self-satisfaction, we have to stop doing and saying things that we will regret.

I believe that when we do have regrets, we need to admit them. To admit regrets is simply taking responsibility for my actions instead of blaming someone else for the bad feelings I have.

I truly understand the difficulty of admitting regrets but I have learned the beauty of transparency. Confessing our regrets is a healthy way to move forward so that the regret no longer keeps you tied up in knots.

One of my greatest regrets in my life was neglecting my children emotionally because of my own grief.

There is no one on planet earth more important to me than my three daughters but the years slipped away and before I knew it they were all grown up. I had spent far too many years checked out.

Because of this, I’ve spent many years rebuilding emotional bridges. Little by little, I keep making progress.

The regret of hiding my shoe pales in comparison to the real-life regrets I’ve experienced but it IS possible to make peace with your past regrets so that you can enjoy today and actually look forward to tomorrow.

I’ve said it many times: Live your life in such a way today so that you can look back in a year, two years or ten years from now and say, “I have no regrets.”

My own regrets truly motivated me to change my future and today I am satisfied by living a “regret-free” life one day at a time.


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