Kristi McAllister, Chief Coloring Officer and Princess in Residence at https://www.trulymadlysassy.com/ asked about regret, and her question hit me…really hit me. Do you have any regrets? Loaded question…and here’s a curious answer.
Once upon a time…that’s how any good fairy tale starts out, right? Well, this isn’t a fairy tale. I can’t share a big, nasty experience that “happened” to me, and then tell you how I let go and it’s all glitter and unicorns and namaste. I will tell you that there’s set of experiences that remind me how I want to live, and I can tell you there’s no sting, no bitterness, no low-grade simmer of anger today. But that wasn’t always the case.
I spent the first three or so decades of my life behaving. I followed the rules. I smiled, and kept my mouth shut. I played the game. I jumped through every hoop presented, flaming or otherwise. I acquiesced, kept me head down, accepted all that praise for being good, smart, etc. YES. That was my favorite word. YES YES YES…I said it all the time. And I realized somewhere in between the third and fourth decade of my life that this was not working.
It took me about 35 years to come to grips with the fact that I was an imposter. Thirty. Five. Years. Don’t get me wrong; I’m fortunate. Some people take a whole lot longer to get it; some never do. Once I did, though, it was as if a series of cataclysmic events started to put me on the right path…the one I knew I should’ve been on all along.
Those stages of grief are real. Thanks, Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross. I guess I spent a few years (or maybe more than a few) in denial. When I moved into anger, I set up housekeeping. I made myself nice and comfy, poured some tea and grabbed my knitting. I wasn’t going anywhere for a while. I stewed.
During this time, it was quite easy to dig around searching for things to be angry about. A perceived slight from a friend; I ran out of toilet paper; you name it, and I could get mad about it. But all that started to really suck. I wasn’t sleeping well, and my health was suffering, mentally and physically.
Bargaining didn’t take long. I had nothing to bargain with, but a wide open future that was mine to create. And that’s when it really hit me: I could spend my time being pissed about what had already happened, or I could make damned sure it didn’t happen again. Check please.
I won’t say I skipped depression, but I think it was out of order. I think I started here, and moved into denial. I had a great life, right? From the outside, I had every thing anyone could possibly desire. Depression for me was the years of thinking I had to say yes, be a certain way, have a certain job, etc. to be loved and accepted. My mistake was not loving and accepting myself. That’s not anyone else’s job…
Acceptance was just that…I accepted that it was time to create what I knew was out there. I accepted that it was time to turn all those feeling of fear into love. I did, over time, but that’s a whole other post.
I said all that so I could share this about regret: STOP. The only regret I have, truly, is that I didn’t wake up sooner to creating a blissful life, instead of leaving it up to someone else. It’s our choice. That’s the beauty of it. It’s simple, but not always easy. Nothing about those years of discovery and change were easy, but they got me here, and here is just where I want to be.
According to Google, regret means to “feel sad, repentant, or disappointed over (something that has happened or been done, especially a loss or missed opportunity). Do you want to spend your precious time here, or do you want to move forward in the direction of your desires?
Before you spend another day wishing for something different, being sad or angry about something that happened a long time ago, ask yourself the question: is this where I want to be, and how I want to feel? Because, you don’t have to. Ask me how I know!