Monday, February 7, 2011

Regret is our GPS

Regret goes hand-in-hand with loss. What kind of regrets will we have in life? How many decisions do you look back on and wish you could change? When you face loss, you always will have regrets. This is true not just with the death of a loved one, but with anything in life, including the loss of your job, your home or your spouse.

The worst part of regret is that, if you don’t have any, you will never learn from your mistakes. On the other hand, if you have too many, you will always be looking behind you and never move forward. So the lesson I learned is this: when you feel regret, stop and think about what it’s trying to tell you.

I regret that, during the last conversation I had with my dad, I was too busy to stop and cherish our talk. I didn’t sit down and enjoy our conversation. Did I tell him I loved him? I don’t remember—I was in too much of a rush. So what does this tell me? That, as usual, I was being impatient and thinking about things and not people.

My regrets are unsettling. They make me doubt my future decisions and also make me aware of my many failures. Regrets are much like a Global Positioning System. They are the annoying voice reminding you that somewhere along the trip you have gotten off course. They alert us when we have gone in the wrong direction. They prod us to take a new route. We may choose to ignore the advice our regrets are offering, but that will only result in us becoming thoroughly lost. On the other hand, if we listen to our regrets, we can change our path and safely arrive at our preprogrammed destination. We all know where we want to go; the hard part is arriving at our destination. Next time the annoying voice of regret tries to speak, it’s best to listen. Chances are, you have made a wrong turn somewhere along the way.

What are your biggest regrets? What have you learned from regret?

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