“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.



Go for a “News Fast” every once in a while to help reduce your stress levels.

We are all familiar with NBS, CBS or ABC, but I really think they should change the call letters to NFS, never feel safe. Why not? Isn’t that the real intent of the media to make us all feel that at any minute of any day something awful is going to happen. After all how else do you get someones attention, especially in these times, since most people can’t spend more than a few minutes on any one thing. I was watching the news the other night and the meteorologist came on and started to gush over how lucky we have been, but, don’t get too complacent because a cold front was coming in and we could be in for some unreliable weather patterns. I love some of the descriptions they use. What is a cold front? How about it’s going to get cold in the next few days. Why the drama? Am I supposed to get out my sled dogs and fur parka? Then the news anchor came on and reported that the job market is increasing. But don’t get too excited, since his very next sentence was that gas prices are going up. So, I guess that means you might get a job put you won’t be able to afford getting there. Next he shared that real estate sales were up, BUT, foreclosures were up too.  Encouraging to say the least. By this time I was starting to twitch, but he wasn’t done. There has to be a segment on health, but it’s never about how many people might be healthy. Oh no, we need to know that sixty three percent of the population is obese and that the morbidity rate will be higher in the younger generations. Now we go to commercial and see one for a soft drink that has at least twenty teaspoons of sugar in it. Followed by a cholesterol medication that has enough side effects to kill you, but not to worry they’re only secondary effects. They might do some damage like loss of hearing or blindness but hey your cholesterol went down.  Okay, I’m not quite suicidal so let’s finish the segment with some global news, filled with murder and mayhem. The last three minutes have a report on someone or something that actually elevates the human condition. But, let’s face it, if you want a good night’s sleep don’t watch the news just before you retire for the night. In fact take a “news fast” every once in a while it will definitely reduce your stress levels.