I am sure we have all heard the old adage . . . 'Live life with no regrets!' . . . however, yesterday I met an intriguing young man who challenged this phrase by saying, 'I have experienced many regrets so far in my life and I will continue to have regrets until I leave this life . . . for the one who arrives at the end of his life and says he has no regrets this simply means he never allowed himself to live . . . he played it safe, did what he had to and never pushed the envelope!' (ok, so maybe I paraphrased a bit--we had had a few).
My conversation with my new friend, Gord, left me in contemplation. How do I define regrets? Do I see them as dreaded unforgivable mistakes? Do I work hard at avoiding them, placating them or tip-toeing around them? Or do I dive right into the middle of them, all the while willing them to sustain me with experience and discovery and gifting me with a clearer definition of what I am capable of and a deeper sense of how I show up in life?? Is it possible for me to see them as richly etched experiences through which I can learn, remember and become more me??
As I asked myself these questions I quickly realized that for the first few decades of my life I was definitely defining regrets and mistakes as one and the same; spending the entirety of most days working tirelessly to avoid regrets or vehemently berating myself when I regretfully deemed that I had slipped up. Looking back at this time of my life I remember mostly feeling fear (you know, that constant queasiness in the caverns of your stomach that just never goes away) . . . the fear of failure, letting down the people in my life . . . the fear of disappointing my parents . . . AGAIN . . . the fear of being a bad mom (to my beautiful little children who I love soo much it makes my chest hurt and my breath catch in the back of my throat), bad sister, bad friend . . . the fear of my boyfriend being mad at me and hurting me . . . the fear of my husband cheating on me or even leaving me . . . the fear of never figuring out what I wanted to do with my ONE life and ending up an overweight bag lady that my own grown-up children would disown.
Holy CRAP!!! Hold-up!! If I attract what I focus on, then by living in this continuous state of attempting to outwit regrets I am constantly thinking of regrets . . . ONLY regrets!!! Hmmmm, that really feel like a big pile of hopeless, defeating crap!!
Then I turned 30!! Something changed for me in my 30's . . . maybe it was getting pregnant at 31 (11 years after my last pregnancy) . . . maybe it was finding myself in the throes of parenting hormonal pre-teens . . . maybe it was my Saturn-return or some other esoteric mumble-jumble . . . or maybe it was my heart and soul saying this worry, OMG-I'm-Not-Good-Enough state of mind was now done!! Whatever the case, I was slowly finding myself focusing on the things I had proven to myself that I was capable of, the things I had already come through and accomplished, the relationships I had already built and established with family and friends that were supportive, nurturing and respectful! I stopped focusing on what I didn't want and began focusing on what I wanted more of . . . more understanding, more communication, more self-acceptance, more laughter, more joy, more peace, more love and soo much more . . . haha!!
As I sit here now and write this blog entry I realize how important it has been for me to re-learn how to love ME . . . all of me!! My happy, my sad, my scared, my fearless, my mad, my anger, my rage, my laughter, my optimism, my love for all I meet, my dedication to my babies (even if they are almost grown), my family and friends. I have traded in my drive for perfectionism (which is what is required if one is to outwit regrets) with striving for excellence . . . my own unique and awesome brand of excellence! I get to choose what excellence looks like for me . . . yayy!!
So in my humble opinion, I conclude that for me my regrets to-date are crucial to me knowing what I don't enjoy and assist me in defining my own personal limits . . . and by acknowledging and embracing my known limits I am not a failure! No in fact by bravely staring my physical, mental, emotional and spiritual limits in the face I set myself free!! No longer do I expend and waste energy and effort on action, experiences and accolades that I am NOT capable of so that I can continue to prove to myself that I am worthless . . . instead I reverently thank my regrets for showing me so much about myself! Their revelations gift me guidelines and insight into who I REALLY am . . . remembering all that I am NOT allows me to then see clearly all that I am.
Just for today, (bcz all we ever have is today) I give myself permission to fall back in love with me . . . all of me . . . all that I see in me that is good, all that I see in me that is bad and everything in between! In this act of self-love I realize I can no longer shame myself for perceived regrets or failures! Love is all I knew when I arrived naked and vulnerable in this world so why would I take anything other than LOVE with me when the time comes for me to leave . . .
So make a commitment to YOU and join me . . . let's fall in love with ourselves together (yea, sure we can then all sing Kumbaya together) . . . it won't be that hard cuz remember, it's just for today!
I have always been a gypsy at heart. I am "HOME' wherever I am :) I love life and all that comes with the experience of living . . . as the years continue to cycle, I am realizing that the ups and downs we experience are powerful indicators of where I am and who I have become!
I am the single mother of 4 beautiful and uniquely individual children. I am an entrepreneur, a daughter, a sister and a lover of the mysteries of life . . .