Tips: For Living a Life with Fewer Regrets
Dr. Dale V. Atkins, February 2012
Whether or not you believe that souls live forever, there are lessons to be learned from those who are close to death. As people reflect on their lives, they often recall and sometimes regret the way they behaved in their relationships.
One of the most important lessons we can learn is how to maximize the potentials in our everyday lives, particularly, extracting from the myriad opportunities, ways to be kind, empathetic, helpful, compassionate, and forgiving.
At different points in our life we may have different regrets. In great part, how we incorporate the feelings and lessons associated with these regrets determines the quality, depth, purpose, joy, connection, and meaning we have in our lives.
A few common regrets we can do something about now are:
Work Less and Spend Time with One's Family - Find a way to be more "present" with your family when you are with them. Many people regret working so hard that they miss much of their children's growing up, and / or miss out on connecting to and supporting their partners' growth in meaningful ways.
Live a Life That Reflects Your True Character - Better to live a life that is truly, authentically, yours rather than a life that reflects what someone else envisioned for you. When someone says, "you should be" or "you should do" it is important to weigh their opinion carefully against your own inner voice and direction.
Express Your Feelings - Some people regret having not expressed their true feelings. They may have fear of inciting someone else's anger or disappointment so they bury their feelings. Some people regret expressing feelings, particularly anger, in ways that were hurtful.
Break Old Patterns - People regret rehashing history rather than learning from earlier experiences, letting them go, and integrating lessons learned from those experiences into present and future relationships. Learning ways to break destructive habits allows people the opportunity to let themselves laugh, play, be spontaneous, and embrace enjoyment in their life.
Once we realize the regrets we or others hold, we can pay attention to living a life with purpose, meaning, and joy no matter what our circumstance. And we will likely have fewer regrets when we live with more focus and consciousness.