Friday, October 22, 2010

What Are Your Biggest Regrets?

Next month, I will be doing an interview on “Relationships 101” on the topic of regrets. A surprisingly large number of people – 30, to be exact - responded to a query I recently posted asking people what are their regrets. That floored me. In fact, I almost didn’t post that query, thinking I’d probably get only a handful of people responding. Instead, I got a large outpouring of people’s heartfelt answers. It almost felt to me as if I were reading people’s confessions.

I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised. We all have regrets of one kind or another. Maybe we still remember the time we didn’t help someone when we could have. Or when we were curt with a Customer Service representative. Or maybe when we betrayed ourselves by not pursuing our own dreams in the service of someone else’s vision of what our life should be like.

What follows is a list of some of those regrets. See if you recognize yourself in any of them.

• Being banished from the family because of the mistakes I’ve made in my life.
• Letting my Mother’s ideas for me stand in my way.
• Not pursuing my dream of being a drummer in a rock ‘n’ roll band.
• Marrying the wrong person and staying too long.
• Trusting the wrong person who then betrayed my trust.
• Being overly concerned about what others thought of me.
• Doing drugs.
• Neglecting my children until it was too late.
• Not sticking with my goals, dreams, and passions.
• Letting fear rule my life.
• Not going far enough with my education.
• Surviving a life-threatening illness and then spending the next 25 years believing I didn’t deserve to survive.
• Being jealous of my little sister and coming to grips with that too late to make amends.
• Trying to handle my son’s drug addiction on my own.
• Not doing all I could to help workers at Ground Zero after 9/11, which is my biggest personal failing.
• Not being more attentive to a parent before s/he died.
• Not believing in myself.
• Doing too much too young and failing in the process.
• Switching my kids from Catholic schools to public schools.

The task for each of them now is to find a way to understand and to forgive themselves and others who they believe wronged them.

And that’s the hard part.

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