Holding onto regret is like dragging the weight of the past with us everywhere we go. And what a burned that can be.
It drains our energy, leaving less available for life in the present because we are constantly feeding an old issue. This attachment can cause illness the same way watering a dead plant creates decay. We know that something new and beautiful can grow in its place if we only prepare the soil and plant the right seeds.
We also know that we create our lives from our thoughts, so dwelling on the past may actually recreate a situation in our lives where we are forced to make the choice again and again.
We can choose to move on right now by applying what we have learned to the present and perhaps even sharing with others, transforming the energy into something that is constructive and creative for ourselves and others.
Forgiveness is the soothing balm that can heal regret. Forgiving others and ourselves. Since we are usually our harshest critics, it is amazing how powerfully healing it can be to offer ourselves love.
Keeping our minds and our energy fully in the present allows us to fuel our physical and emotional healing and well-being today. This action frees our energy to create the dreams we dream for the future. By taking responsibility and action in the present, we can release our grip and relax.
But no life will ever be completely clear of opportunity for regret. Failed relationships, missed opportunities, poor judgment calls, you name it, the list can be brutally endless. Some choices seem easy at the time and later turn out to have been poorly informed; others are difficult from the beginning.
Some regrets are more fundamental, greater in scope. They tend not to focus on a single moment or area, but how life is lived.
Here is a reminder of a dozen potential regrets to make sure you’re keeping your distance.
1. I wish I had spent more time with the people I love.
It’s easy to let that time slip away, but once it’s gone you can never get it back.
2. I wish I had worried less.
Worry is just using your imagination to create the things you don’t want.
3. I wish I had forgiven more.
It takes a strong person to say “I’m sorry,” and an even stronger person to forgive (especially when you don't get that apology you want). Forgive and let go of all the anger and grudges; enjoy happiness instead of wasting it.
4. I wish I had stood up for myself.
Never allow yourself to be bullied or silenced. No one is more important in this world than you are.
5. I wish I had lived my own life.
Spend your time now working on the things you want to accomplish or at least try. Build a business, cultivate a great career, build a family, run a marathon. The greatest success lies in living your life in your own way.
6. I wish I had been more honest.
If you don’t own up to your own elemental truth, falsehood will ultimately end up owning you. Honesty is the clearest path.
7. I wish I had worked less.
Working constantly for something you don’t passionately care about adds nothing but stress to your life (you might wanna read that again). And even if the passion is there, keep your workload in balance with the rest of your life.
8. I wish I had cared less about what other people think.
Stop wasting your moments on other people’s opinions. Ultimately they are just opinions from those who don’t fully share your reality.
9. I wish I had lived up to my full potential.
Live up to your own aspirations, not down to others’ expectations. There is no passion to be found in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.
10. I wish I had faced my fears.
Life is found in the distance between your deepest desire and your greatest fear. Remember, fear is only temporary, but regret can last forever.
11. I wish I’d stopped chasing the wrong things.
When you let the wrong things go, you can give the right things a chance to catch you.
12. I wish I’d lived more in the moment.
Make a difference today. Make it a day worth remembering.
Take a few moments now and then and revisit your business, your life, your leadership.
Ask yourself if there is anything that you might regret later. And if there is, take action.
Later will be now before you know it.