Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The Gift of Regret

When we think about regret, we tend to think about the past. Regret is most commonly talked about as an end of life happening, a world we enter into when our death is near. In this universal approach to regret, the focus is on our feelings of sadness, repentance or disappointment.  This version of regret guides us to review and rate our life with regard to opportunities and relationships lost, actions not taken and words spoken in haste. Many even attempt to avoid this type of regret via the construction of a “Bucket List” of places to go and things to do before life as we know it ends.

I suggest embodying another and more radical version of regret – intentionally utilizing regret as a living presence and guide in our lives, rather than as something to be avoided at all costs. When utilized strategically, regret can be our greatest teacher, providing us with critical information regarding how to live a life that intentionally reflects our deepest and most cherished values. Being actively aware of regret in any area of our life can be an effective and efficient tool to keep us on track in terms of intentional living. This version of regret provides us with the opportunity to clean up any interpersonal messes that we inevitably make along our life path and make choices that honor what we hold most dear in life. Through embodying this version of regret, we provide ourselves with the opportunity to shed our false self and live through our authentic self.

It’s never too late to embrace an empowering version of regret, the version that challenges us to continually ask the question: Who am I being in my life? Fully embracing this question is both powerful and a bit scary at times in terms of personal accountability. I suggest that the inherent gifts of embodying this type of relationship with regret are worth it. I invite you to try it out and experience it for yourself.


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