“Stay away from what might have been and look at what can be.” – Marsha Petrie Sue
I was walking down the beach and couldn’t help but wonder: what would life look like, if I’d go back in time and changed one thing or another?
Have you ever wished to turn back time?
I knew that that way of thinking was fruitless. And yet I went deeper into a rabbit hole thinking about joy-sapping regrets we all experience at some point…
5 Joy-Sapping Regrets and How to Avoid Them
1. I wish I lived my life the way I saw fit despite what other thought of that.
Many people look around, left and right, comparing, trying to figure out if the way they exist is the ‘right’ way to live. We stress and obsess. Where all we need to do is just let ourselves be. Letting ourselves be and forgetting to check on opinions of what others might think about the way we choose to live – isn’t that liberating?
You see, the thing is that the only person who knows TRUE you is… YOU. Other people have no idea who we are, but they do have an endless flow of opinions (perceptions) of what we might be. That is why it is important to withdraw from that obsession of what others think of you. When I did, I felt relieved…
That’s right. Nothing. Nothing is stopping you.
2. I’m sorry I was working too much missing out on many things…
What is your most vivid memory you have of your parents?
My parents are ambitious workaholics of whom I have so little memories of spending time together as a family. Their work always seemed to be more important than other things. Often we chase our dreams in that hamster wheel not even dreaming about catching a break. And in this ever-accelerating world ‘just living’ might take a back seat.
Are we THAT busy? What are we missing out on the most that we might feel sorry about soon?
3. I feel sorry for the way I couldn’t fully express my feelings to the loved ones
4. I feel sorry for the way I never found time to stay in touch with people I liked
Can you think of a good friend with whom you were close and then drifted apart? You didn’t even have a fight, yet faded away from each others’ horizons. And then, as time went by it felt ‘awkward’ to message or give them a call.
I have a few examples like that…
Whom have you left behind that you would love to get in touch with again? And what are you waiting for?
Regret is a negative cognitive/emotional state that involves blaming ourselves for a bad outcome, feeling a sense of loss or sorrow at what might have been or wishing we could undo a previous choice that we made. – Pete Trainor
5. I feel sorry that I never let myself just to be HAPPY
I happen to know a lady that a previous version of myself would find remarkably irritating. Now, I find her fascinating. It’s peculiar how easy she finds new reasons and things to get upset about.
Why my attention was drawn to this example is simple. That lady reminds me of… me.
I would have made a shiny career out of coming up with dumb things to upset myself with. It was all about my attention and to what I was pinning it down to. It took years of practice and enormous mountains of patience to retrain myself.
Whenever I would think about something upsetting my mind would jump off the diving board straight into that whirlpool of misery. Then I would say to myself out loud: STOP. The shift of attention happens instantly.
Whenever your attention goes, your energy flows in exactly the same direction.
So why not focus on the things that serve you better? On the things that make you happier?
Try it. See if it works.