Tag Archive: regret

I am continuing this series on looking backwards to help yourself move forwards well. This post on Regret should probably go hand in hand with the previous one on Forgiveness.

‘If only. Those must be the two saddest words in the world.’ [ Mercedes Lackey]


And this really is the bottom line. We cannot go back to the past and live things differently. We can’t change the past. And so living with regret of decisions made, actions done, things said becomes completely unhelpful because there is nothing we can do to alter those things. However, we do have the power to affect how we live forwards and so it can be helpful to look back at things that didn’t go so well, not to wallow in self-pity and regret or beat ourselves down or anything like that [again, doesn’t really achieve anything worthwhile] BUT so that where possible we can put things right or else make time to learn from what has happened and choose to live differently from here on out.

“It’s no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then.” [ Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland]

Carroll has a great point there. Another great hope linked to looking backwards is that you have changed as a person. Hopefully you have grown and matured [not become old, please!] and learnt more about love and grace and forgiveness and so the ‘you’ who made those bad decisions and maybe hurt people or messed up badly, is also someone who you have, to some extent left behind as you have moved on.

Transform any regrets you may have from the past into learning opportunities for the future. Insofar as you have the ability to mend broken relationships or make right for things you got wrong and people you hurt, do so [remembering that if they choose not to forgive, that is okay, but make sure they hear and see that you are really repentant] and then leave them behind and move forwards.

‘Has this world been so kind to you that you should leave with regret? There are better things ahead than any we leave behind.’ [C. S. Lewis]

Lewis nails it. Start believing that there are better times ahead and work towards those. Embrace the present as you live towards creating a successful future, for you and all those around you.

But if you are going to choose to regret something, this would be a good one:

‘Looking back, I have this to regret, that too often when I loved, I did not say so.’ [David Grayson]

 And by ‘choose to regret’ i mean ‘live so you don’t have to’ – is there someone you need to tell you love or appreciate them today? Don’t wait too late or this too will be tossed upon the regret pile. Don’t wait til someone’s funeral to say all the nicest things about them they never got to hear.

So live forwards well, by learning from, but refusing to carry, any regrets from the past…

[For the next part on Re-establishing contact, click here]

one day you will be old. and then dead. hopefully in that order. preferably without skipping the first part.

and a lot has been said about that… like the much shared list of top 5 regrets of the dying according to a nurse who hung out with a lot of dying people and got to hear a list of their regrets apparently [no Patch Adams noodle baths from this fun lady it seems] and these are the top 5 that emerged:

1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

2. I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.

3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

we were also given that Baz Luhrmann ‘Sunscreen’ song/speech that reminded us of the long term benefits of wearing sunscreen, which contained such gems as:

Don’t be reckless with other people’s hearts, don’t put up with people who are reckless with yours.

Do NOT read beauty magazines, they will only make you feel ugly.

Be careful whose advice you buy, but, be patient with those who supply it.

And then one of the most classical of them all:

Don’t worry about the future; or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubblegum.

And on it goes – lists about climbing more mountains, picking more flowers, taking less photographs and living more in the moments you are capturing and so on…

Which is all great and important and true but can end up being another overwhelming set of ideals and wish lists and if onlys that you never actually really get to and will one day end up on your regret list.

So what do i want to suggest?

2 simple things – CELEBRATION and GRATITUDE:

The title of this post is ‘What do you celebrate as your head hits the pillow?’ – I remember one year where i kept a journal for a whole year and all that i wrote in it was at the end of each day one thing that i was grateful for from that day. From as simple as a friendly note from a friend on Facebook to something more powerful like witnessing life transformation in a friend or an answer to prayer or being able to resist temptation in a moment. Being intentional about taking a moment to stop in your day and celebrate a win or a thing to be grateful for. There is always one thing.

The second one has been noticing in tbV’s Facebook feed this last week or two what has felt like an intentional daily or close-to-daily moment of ‘Today i am grateful for…’ and usually a list of two to seven things that she has gratitude for on this particular day. i have found this so encouraging and it spurs me to consider my own list every time.

Regret is such a useless emotion/feeling/state because it accomplishes nothing except making you feel like a tit. And i don’t know anyone who enjoys that feeling particularly. So rather replace it with celebration and gratitude, even just of the small things that are worth celebrating and you might be amazed at how the bigger picture starts to be affected as well.

What will you celebrate tonight as your head hits the pillow? Take a minute and share one thing below in the comments that you are grateful for. Let it start here. 

Yes, I said ‘Live’ not ‘life’ cos ‘Live’ is a verb. and cos it’s me.

my friend and former wedding photographer Bex Meissner sent me this link to a great article on the top five regrets people have before they die and it is well worth reading the whole article, but just to whet your appetite the top five regrets people mentioned are:

1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

2. I wish I didn’t work so hard.

3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

Really good time to give those some attention now and see if any of those areas are lacking in your life and make better choices and live differently if necessary… but to read the explanation of each point go and read the complete article here.

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