As parents, we spend a fair amount of time agonizing over our mistakes. Certainly, we would have done many things differently. If only we hadn’t been grown children ourselves when we made our relationship choices and eventually married. Most of us had no idea our marriages would end. If we had, we wouldn’t have walked […]
It’s natural to have regrets in life. Few of us escape them.
Often, they sleep within us and remain silently dormant.
And then an uncomfortable life experience pokes the bear and wakes them from their slumber. It could be reaching a milestone birthday, the loss of a parent, the loss of a job, divorce, empty-nesting and more.
An arrival at a place which makes us assess our lives.
What if we had traveled more and not settled down? What if we had taken that exciting job transfer? What if we had gone to a different college? Married a different spouse? Left our marriage sooner? Not gotten divorced?
We can let these regrets or questions thwart us or we can attack them spiritually.
If we are devout in our faith we believe that everything, the good, the bad and the ugly, happens in our lives for a reason. All of this re-arranges us and restores us and leaves us better people. It leads us towards our God-given purpose in life. Yes, everything. Even the choices we made with our own free will. Mistakes and all. God knows us well and His Hand was there despite our own at times, misguided hands.
But then, what about the whispers within us? If we are spiritual supermodels why then would we have any regrets?
If we are to age spiritually we are to accept the path our lives have followed. If we wish to promote spiritual anti-aging it is to continue with this belief and fight harsh internal and external damaging forces.
Don’t succumb to the unhappiness or bitterness of regrets. Instead, listen to them as a spiritual preventative aging tool.
Don’t fight and bury them. Accept them and listen to the spiritual prompts they may be.
The Different Types of Spiritually Aging Regrets and Their Anti-Aging Properties:
1. The ‘what if ‘regrets:
What if I had traveled more or never quit school or switched careers? God places a restlessness in our hearts for a reason. He is urging a change in our lives. He is quietly influencing our free will to further our purpose and
God places a restlessness in our hearts for a reason.
He is urging a change in our lives. He is quietly influencing our free will to further our purpose and put us in place to learn more and therefore help more.
If you have ‘what if’ regrets make a list of them.
Prioritize them and decide what gnaws at you the most. Then make a calendar in terms of urgency with accompanying goal completion dates. Whatever you do, do not think ‘all or nothing.’ God seldom lines everything up instantaneously because there would be no journey to cultivate us. Therefore, travel doesn’t have to mean quitting your job and a year-long sabbatical or a sudden move. It could mean planning several far-flung two-week adventures. Switching careers could start with a few classes which renew your hope. Start small or more than likely it will not happen anyway.
2. The ‘I wish my path had been different’ regrets:
No one wants to lose those they love, get divorced, lose a job, or lose relationships. Sadly, they are facts of life we must endure.
And then, we have to decide if they are to change us or if they are to shape us.
God places these feelings of sadness, despair, and failure in our hearts to create empathy, help others and meet our purpose.
These types of intense regrets can make us feel uncomfortable in our own skin. They can make us feel a need to escape, yet a need to fight for things to remain the same.
If you have ‘I wish my path had been different’ regrets make a list of them.
What is truly making you the saddest and the most uncomfortable? Do you need to move away from an old life to start over? Do you need to find purpose in your loss and help others? Do you need to seek counseling to help you understand what got you here?
These types of regrets can cause substantial unhappiness when ignored. They are also easy to fight because they were unwanted destinations and unwanted experiences. You have to accept that a whole part of your life is over or perhaps years of work erased.
3. The ‘I beat myself up’ regrets:
These are the unfounded whispers in your heart. You can’t continually beat yourself up for choices which you have made.
You can only choose to learn from them and not repeat the same mistakes.
The I shouldn’t have married him, shouldn’t have moved for this job and should have saved more money regrets.
Well, you did and you did and you didn’t. It happened. It’s over.
They remain inside you and tug at your heart because you are too hard on yourself and it keeps you from moving forward. If the friendship ended and you feel terrible then apologize and steer clear of certain types of people and / or friendships. If the marriage has ended take the years that were beautiful and the lessons to find someone even more beautiful in your life.
These types of regrets are urging you to make highly internal changes to your personality traits and habits. It would be advisable to find a great counselor and learn how to personally grow and alleviate these areas as future regrets.
4. The ‘how did I get here?’ regrets:
If you are suffering this type of regret you may need help gaining clarity.
No one wants to take a bad life experience and extend it and make it worse or get stuck but we are human and we do.
The pulling sense of regret is signaling you wish for change. You just may not be emotionally strong enough to achieve it on your own. No, this doesn’t mean staying in bed, missing work type of weakness, it simply means your extended pain is pre-occupying you.
You should enlist the help of a family member or friend to help you sift through the remorse of this type of regret. You could also seek out the help of clergy or counselors to help gain awareness to the choices which led you here and how to make better choices to navigate out of the situation.
If we believe regrets are spiritual prompts we can move forward as ageless spiritual supermodels.
If we let them engulf us which is so easy to do as we are human, they will spiritually age us.
We can consider ignored regrets no different than sun and sugar and cigarettes. They will slowly eat away at our spiritual beauty.
Instead, if we choose the regret anti-aging alternatives we can spiritually age gracefully.
(Photo courtesy of Pexels and second photo authors)
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