The roadblock of regret

Nothing in life is more exciting and rewarding than the sudden flash of insight that leaves you a changed person – not only changed, but changed for the better. Such moments are rare, but they come to all of us. Sometimes from a movie, a sermon, or a book.

We mustn’t chew on the bitter cud of hindsight and continue living in the world of “if only”.

I once read a story about a woman who was a schoolteacher who kept a journal of her life. Her husband, charming man that he was, was a real loser. She had to pay the bills, keep the home going and the family together (hold down the fort). Her diary was full of angry references to his weaknesses,shortcomings and inadequacies.Then her husband died suddenly and all entries ceased excect for one – years later. Here is what it read:

“Today I was made superintendent of our schools, and I suppose I should be very proud. But if I knew that my husband was out there somewhere beyond the stars, and if I knew how to manage it, I would go to him tonight.”

What she was saying here was “If only; If only I had accepted him, faults and all; if only I had loved him while I had the chance.”

Sometimes in life we view things as a curse or a burden, especially when we are taking care of someone else we have the tendency to self-reflect. This may happen during our difficult situation or after, when someone we love and have cared for has passed away.

We say things like, “If only I had done it differently or not at all. If only I hadn’t lost my temper, would have listened more, spent more time with them” etc. But reality is that we don’t need to go there. If we would change that “If only” to “what if”.

The trouble with “if only” is that it doesn’t change anything. It keeps us facing the roadblock and unable to go forward. It is a complete waste of time and definitely a downer for those around us. If we allow this to become our way of life, it becomes a roadblock, an excuse for not trying anymore.

There is a perverse streak in all of us where we tend to enjoy our self-pity party wherein we like hashing over old mistakes. When we keep playing that old movie in our head and continue telling it to others it keeps us “center stage” and all eyes on us!

What if we were to shift the focus and change our words striking out the words “if only” in our vocabulary and substituting with the phrase “next time“. This brings a whole new outlook. It shows we are on our way to overcoming. It means we have decided to apply the lessons we have learned from our experiences, however grim or painful they may have been. It means we are going to push aside the roadblock of regret, move forward, take action, and resume living.

I challenge you today to remove this roadblock and go forward – you’re free to resume your life!

About Sue Salach

Sue has a Master's degree in Gerontology and has worked with the elderly and their families for over 30 years and is the Author of "Along Comes Grandpa", a caregiving resource guide, and the novel "If I Walked in Her Shoes". As an ElderCare Expert and Keynote Speaker, Sue employs her comprehensive experience and passion, to educate and promote self-care values to family caregivers and the community at large.
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