In the Flow with Healing Waters

give up, sad desperate man sitting alone, problems and solitude, failure concept

Ask yourself if you’ll have regret.

I have a dear friend I have known for over 50 years. She is my bestie. I get her, she gets me. She always has my back. I know I can call her anytime, day or night, and she would be there for me. She is the kind of friend that comes along once in a lifetime and I feel blessed that our lives crossed paths so many years ago. Her brother passed away last week. For 2 weeks before that, my friend crossed my mind nearly every day. I did not take the opportunity to call her and check on her. So when I got a text from her about her brother I called right away. I told her how many times I had thought about her over the past 2 weeks. She told me how difficult those 2 weeks had been for her. I regretted not calling her. 

REGRET we all have it. I googled regret. This is what I found. 

Dealing with regret is difficult because of the other negative emotions connected to it: remorse, sorrow, and helplessness. Regret can increase our stress, negatively affect physical health and throw off the balance of hormones and immune systems. Regret is not only unpleasant. It is unhealthy. 

If we all put our heads together we would create a very long list of things we regret. Did you know according to google there is tattoo regret and baby name regret? I came across a list that was written by a Hospice Nurse. She had conversations with her dying patients and this is what they told her about regret.

  • They wish they had been more loving to the people that mattered most
  • They wish they had been a better spouse, parent, or child
  • They wish they had not spent so much time at work
  • They wish they had taken more risks
  • They wish they had been happier and enjoyed life more
  • They wish they had lived their dream
  • They wish they had taken better care of themselves
  • They wish they had done more for others
  • They wish they had chosen more meaningful work

I noticed in this list nobody wished or had regrets about their house, car, or wanting more money. Nobody spoke of material things. 

I found another list of regrets

  • I wish I had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me
  • I wish I had the courage to express my feeling
  • I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends
  • And the most common one: I wish I had let myself be happier.      

Many only realized in the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called “comfort zone” of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to themselves, that they were content. When deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again. When you are on your deathbed, what others think of you is a long way from your mind. How wonderful to be able to let go and smile again, long before you are dying. 

Regret can significantly impede happiness and often causes people to feel shame, sadness, or remorse about decisions or the ways in which they have spent their lives. Sometimes regret can contribute to depression, but depression can also cause feelings of regret. 

What can we do with regret:

  • Let yourself feel regret, without avoiding or wallowing in it
  • If your behavior caused harm, make amends
  • Learn to forgive yourself
  • Reframe your experience with regret
  • Write about and share your regret
  • Use regret to clarify what you value

Regret. We all have some. I can not go back and change the fact that I did not call my friend when she needed me. However, going forward I can do better. When I get that nudge, that little message in my head that I should do something I can act on it rather than ignore it.  

From time to time it is a good idea to take the time to evaluate what really matters to us. How do we want to BE? How do we live a life with fewer regrets? Can we remember to pause before we speak something we may regret? Sometimes when we just react without thinking about consequences our words can cut deep and be painful leaving us to regret. The same with our actions. If we can live our lives consciously and intentionally we generally make better choices. I found some helpful suggestions in the lists I found. I hope they are helpful to those of you who took the time to read this as well. 

No regrets in the flow,