Sherry Dekazorski used to work as a hospice social worker, and during that time, she learned a lot about regret and how many patients go to their grave with overburdening emotions of regret and sadness. Many wound up wishing they had lived their lives differently, she said. For example, maybe they had financial problems where they lost their home. Home Truths series shares life stories with a thought-provoking perspective that lets people take control over their finances to eliminate regret over finances.
Let Your Loved Ones Know You Love Them
Love takes us to higher planes, and arguably, it’s one of the best reasons for living. When you love someone, you want to show love through both words and actions. Your loved ones may not be here tomorrow, which is why telling them you love them now could be one of the most important things you ever did. Even if something happened to them, you will feel less regret. After someone passes away, one of the big regrets a person has is how they never told that person how much they meant to them. Sometimes you might struggle to tell them in speech because of the awkwardness. Instead, you can write them a letter.
Take a Meaningful Risk
Many times we stay within our comfort zone because we fear the unknown and what could happen. Nevertheless, it becomes almost impossible to touch greatness when you live too cautiously. This, however, does not mean to take unnecessary risks. That will simply make your life harder. Taking a meaningful risk means to chase your dreams. For example, maybe you have a dream of living in India for a year, but the idea of being away from home scares you. It will be the first time. Identify one way to move outside your comfort zone every day, and you will slowly feel more comfortable to grab the reins of your bigger dreams.
Neither Success nor Failure Defines You
As humans, we must remember we are much bigger than our successes and failures. Dekazorski talks about how many of the patients she talked to in hospice care felt regret about their failures. They let those things grow and define them. Other times, Dekazorski noted how people trapped themselves in their previous successes. They lamented at how they’d never experience success like that ever again, which evolved into a monster because it started to define them. Instead of regret, you can choose to learn from all failures, and successes can be used as a moment of gladness but not the finish line. We should view life as a journey that continues.
Live by Principle
We may not always understand what will make us happy, but when we take a few minutes or even a couple hours to understand what we want out of life, we can understand our values better. In doing this, we can figure out if we align with our values. While some discover meaning in working for a hotel, others will thrive in the creativity of being an artist. Before you decide to make potentially life-altering decisions, ask yourself if the course of action will lead to regrets. “What is the meaning of life?” The great and sometimes over asked question of life. However, a wise philosopher instead asks, “How do I make my life meaningful?” In answering that question, you will naturally live with fewer regrets.
Visit a Licensed Therapist
Oftentimes, we think of therapists as someone helping us solve our problems, and that’s true. It could go a long way to alleviate regret. However, you can also use therapists for another purpose. You can use them to identify your passions and talents, and they can help you win the battle against certain obstacles. You could also speak with a life coach, but beware this field has no regulation, so you have to exercise discernment.
Self-expression becomes integral to not living a life deep in the monstrous clutches of regret. Some of the traditional creative realms of expression include writing, music and art. Some of the lesser known fields include programming, public speaking and teaching. It’s not what you do but how you express yourself. To untangle ourselves from the past, we have to first let go of it. Whatever caused you to feel regret, understand you can’t change the past. The best cure for a regretful heart is to learn from your mistakes and move on.
Photo Credit: Getty Images