“Shoulding” on ourselves and living with regrets.

I wonder how many of us live our lives going over our regrets on a daily basis. I know I used to spend a great deal of energy ruminating over what I “should” have done. It included ; could I have been a better parent, why did I get divorced, might I have been a more devoted daughter, and what if I had been less invested in my career, would that have made everyone around me happier? I have also self flagellated over gaining weight, not flossing every night, having hair that’s too curly and ad infinitum, ad nauseum.  Regrets have a place in our lives, if they wake us up to attempting not to repeat the past or if they give us new insights and possibilities. But the majority of us seem to savor our regrets in some dark and mysterious way as if feeling the guilt over and over will somehow free us from them or the pain they inflict upon us. There is research that says “swimming to the island of regrets” can help instill a healthy conscience but make sure you can swim back. After all never feeling any regret for untowardly behavior is the basis for being a sociopath or psychopath. One of the biggest problems individuals have that continually fret and share their regrets is that there are always individuals who have memories like elephants who simply won’t let you forget even if you want to. My mother loved to reiterate over and over her mantra “Didn’t I tell you”! She had the rhetoric down pat and could have given it as a graduation speech at Harvard. There are others with a similar mindset that I have shared the errors of my ways, who are masters at reminding me of them over and over.  In fact if you allow them to hold you hostage, you’ll be their prisoner for life. They like my mother have taught me to practice discernment as to what I say and to whom about my regrets. I have also learned to forgive myself for being human . Scott Peck, the author of “The Road Less Traveled” made himself famous with the first line in his book, “Life is difficult”. Yes it is and often we set out to do all the right things for ourselves and those we love, but “stuff happens” and we make decisions based on immaturity, and unfulfilled needs. One thing is for sure, our time on this planet is very short, and so we must try to focus on moving forward in the best possible way by learning from our pasts so that our days are filled with the joy of what we did right rather than what we didn’t do.

 

 

About lorettalaroche

An international stress management and humor consultant whose wit, and irreverent humor, has, for over 30 years raised the humor potential in all of us. She is on the Mass General advisory council for anxiety and depression and was recently awarded the National Humor Treasure Award. Loretta writes a weekly newspaper column called, ‘Get a Life’.

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3 Responses to “Shoulding” on ourselves and living with regrets.

  1. Susan says:

    did you think that one up? “shoulding” on one’s self? it’s perfect!
    You are right about this too:
    “One thing is for sure, our time on this planet is very short, and so we must try to focus on moving forward in the best possible way by learning from our pasts so that our days are filled with the joy of what we did right rather than what we didn’t do.” {what is Right?
    Recently I had to decide to do what I think is right based on what gives me pleasure and stop letting the brainwashing from other people’s values dictate how I used my time! It’s limited and therefore not to be wasted doing things I don’t want to count as memories.
    That’s how I drew the line, cutting out the things I don’t want to relive.

  2. What I find interesting is that there is no discussion on the fact that obesity is not simply about curtailing an individuals’ intake of sugary liquids. The fact of the matter is that over the years our society has become invested in eating mindlessly. People eat while their driving, while they’re talking on their cell phones, even while their walking down the street. I’m sure we’re going to see the day when they put microwaves and pizza ovens in cars. We have also become invested in “more is better” in all areas of our lives. This type of mindset creates stress which leads to overeating as a way to comfort ourselves. Our days are filled with trying to connect through gadgets that simply increase feelings of isolation. Food is sandwiched in-between the busyness that has become a way of life, rather than taking the time to cook, savor and share with friends and family. Until we are able to see the whole picture as the realty of an unbalanced lifestyle, we will continue to try to find the obesity culprit. Perhaps we should also consider the fact that encouraging accountability for ones’ behavior is one of the most important values we can teach beginning at a very young age. If I can’t develop the ability to self regulate my emotions and be accountable for what I choose to value than we will have no choice but to be at the mercy of other people’s dictates.

  3. Patty Rufo says:

    I like this blog as it is so close to home. Thank You!!

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