Wikipedia tells us that Regret is a negative conscious & emotional reaction to personal past acts and behaviors. Regret is often expressed by saying “I'm sorry.” Or worse, the expression of regret is never uttered to the one we have on some level hurt. Regret is often a feeling of sadness, shame, depression, embarrassment, annoyance, or guilt, after one acts in a manner and later wishes not to have done so. I believe that many people feel that regrets are missed opportunities like an apology unexpressed, love withheld, a dream unrealized, a gift or talent unused.
Below are 5 common regrets:
1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life that I dreamed and not the life others expected me to live.
This is the most common regret. When people realize that their life is almost over and look back at the many apologies not sincerely given, love unexpressed, dreams unfulfilled, and risks not taken. When a couple can ask for forgiveness, show their love for one another consistently and dream great dream and realize goals together, the glue that binds their hearts is stronger. Living in accordance to the dreams on your heart makes more of you. When their is more of you, their is more to abundantly share with your partner.
Take a moment to look at your relationship carefully. Are there dreams on your heart that you want to risk? Now is the time to reflect on finding the courage to risk them before you get too old.
2. I wish I hadn’t been so obsessed with work.
I have heard this wish many times. Many people ultimately regret putting their work in front of their family, friends and relationships. When we are young we believe there is always tomorrow to make up for the things we give up now, but at the end of life, we realize how few tomorrows are left and we regret giving too much time to a job. If you are going to be passionate about work, make sure that your work is not simply a job, but a joy, a calling, a purpose, an endeavor that makes more of you, betters you, fulfills you. When we are full, we have more to share with those we love, not less.
3. I wish I’d had learned to communicate my feelings more honestly and powerfully.
Many people suppress or ignore their feelings in order to keep peace, or again not take a risk of being hurt. As a result, they can feel that they settled and never became who they were truly capable of becoming, because they lacked the courage to speak the truth in their hearts. Some people develop illnesses relating to the anger, bitterness and resentment they carried through their lives, or the love they refused to confess. In all of our talking, most people find that sharing their true feelings in a respectful, loving, honest way is a difficult endeavor.
That is why it is a good idea to do all you can to learn to be a better communicator of your thoughts, ideas, and especially your feelings. Read books, watch videos on You Tube, take relationship courses, what better to learn about than yourself and communicating with those you love?
4. I wish I had made my relationships more of a priority in my life.
Many wait and only realize in their dying months that they wish they have kept in touch with those who touched their lives. People become caught up in the business of running their lives and loose golden friendships, or family relationships. People feel many deep regrets about not giving friendships and family the time and effort that they deserved. But they regret most of all, not focusing on their partner and children. It is all comes down to love and relationships in the end. That is all that remains in the final weeks, love and relationships.
5. I wish that I had allowed more joy to fill my life.
This is a surprisingly common regret. This is when we realize that we spent too much time obsessing over and being side tracked by the small stuff in life. Happiness and joy are a choice, and are born out of the gratitude and appreciation that fills our hearts.
Later in life we wonder why we focused on the shoes left on the floor, the coffee being sipped from a saucer, the way a father blew his nose loudly in public. After losing someone, everyone wishes for just one more opportunity to experience the very thing that used to annoy, anger and frustrate them.
Wouldn't it be wonderful if those annoyances we obsess about were allowed to bring us humor and joy instead of frustration? But to transform those annoyances into humor and joy it takes the discipline to remind ourselves to appreciate, instead of resist, that which will too soon be gone from our lives.
Do not wait til you are on your deathbed, to regret things that you can give yourself permission to value today. Each of these regrets hinders our ability to love fully. Enjoy those things now. Laugh at them now. Enjoy them. Transform them into things that make you smile.
Dawn L. Billings is a communication, relationship and personality expert who has authored over 20 books and hundreds of articles on relationships, parenting and communication.
Dawn is the Executive Director of the Relationship Help Resort in Arizona, and architect of Primary Colors Personality Insight Tools. She is the creator of the Relationship Help At Home 26 week couple's course, and founder of Personality-Experts.com.
Dawn is also the author of the Happiness Curriculum and OverJOYed Life.