What would you regret?

“Remorse is the poison of life.”

– CHARLOTTE BRONTE


I was having a rich conversation the other night with a friend about regret.  She asked me, if you died right now, what would you regret most? And honestly, I don’t think I would have many regrets.  I did some stupid things in my life, but nothing horrific, and most of the stupid stuff actually made me who I am.  And now at 55 years old, I like my life and I feel like I’m pretty much living according to my values.  And that feels really good. The most important thing to me is my connection to people – to my sons, to my husband, to my sister and my niece, to my friends. And I feel like I work hard to keep those connections.  I feel like I’ve worked hard to connect with my authentic self, and to not give myself away anymore.

And in terms of regrets for what I haven’t done yet – well I have done most of the things that I have really wanted to do in this lifetime – I have a wonderful family and two amazing children, I have a home that I love, I have travelled a lot – I feel very blessed . . . although sigh, to be honest if I was dying before my book got published, that would be a regret.

We were having the conversation after she had sent me this article in The Guardian:

The Top Five Regrets of the Dying

1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

2. I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.

3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

The top regrets seem to reflect remorse over a life where people did not honor their authentic selves, where they let the pressure of others and of expectations rule how they lived. I think it is a good question to ask a friend, or oneself – If this were your last day of life, what would you regret? Am I living my life in line with my authentic self?  Do I have the courage to truly be myself and live my life according to my highest values?

The same day that I had that conversation with my friend, another friend sent me an email with this link for THE OVERVIEW EFFECT.  And although at first it seemed unrelated to the conversation about regrets, after watching it, I realized it is deeply connected.  It is about unity and compassion and caring.  And what greater regret could any of us have than to regret destroying our home, this beautiful planet.

What would you regret?  Are you living a life true to yourself?  Thank you for stopping by, I appreciate it.

 

 

 

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Moving toward Authentic Self

“Our sadness is an energy we discharge in order to heal . . . Sadness is painful. We try to avoid it. Actually discharging sadness releases the energy involved in our emotional pain.  To hold it in is to freeze the pain within us.”

– John Bradshaw


I’m incredibly fortunate in that I get to work with my best friend.  We run workshops together through a charitable trust called Figjam Workshops.  I love my work!

http://www.figjamworkshops.co.nz/home

Part of what I really enjoy, aside from the facilitation which is wonderful, are the long drives to and from the workshops, where Deb and I drink coffee and have long, deep conversations.  On Friday, on the way home from a workshop, Deb and I were talking about Authentic Self; about healing old wounds, about dealing with old, deep trauma and abuse – about doing the deep work – the work to move from being stuck to finding one’s Authentic Self.  We both agree that doing one’s personal growth work is essential to one’s well-being.

And because Deb is a good friend and we trust each other, she felt safe enough to challenge me a bit, and I felt safe enough to listen.  She asked me about some of my posts on this blog.  She said that I make it sound like “being happy” is the answer, that all one has to do is decide to be happy and everything will be better.   She said in her opinion it sounded like I was saying just act happy, maybe journal a bit and everything will be OK.  And after looking over some of my past posts, I see she is right and I don’t feel like I am honoring Authentic Self.  I want to state here and now that I believe that any of us with past emotional scaring, trauma, or abuse need to acknowledge it and do the work.  Staying stuck, staying in denial and pretending that everything is just wonderful is not helpful.   Pasting on a smile and saying I will just be positive when the pain inside is unbearable does not work.

In my previous post,   Who Was Your Teacher:

https://patticlark.wordpress.com/2012/05/23/who-was-your-teacher/

I talked about finally getting to the point where partying and alcohol were no longer enough to numb the pain.  I was lucky enough to have a sister who cared enough to talk to me about her path and pass on a transformational book called Creative Visualization.  Yes I did read that book, and yes it did help me begin my journey.  But it is important to say that then I spent many years doing my own work.  I went to one on one counselling, I did psychodrama groups, I did group counselling and I went to more personal growth workshops than I can count.  I did deep, deep work. Most of it was not fun and a lot of the work was very painful, but all of it helped move me forward on my path.  I was and still am committed to growing and not staying stuck.

In order to make changes in the present and not stay stuck, we have to look at the past and understand what led us to our current situation. We need to work through and move through our feelings of pain and loss in order to move on. Please understand I am absolutely and positively a believer in Positive Psychology and finding happiness.  But it must be Authentic Happiness.  And in my opinion Authentic Happiness can only be obtained when we have done our work and touched our Authentic Self.

A great teacher and author who helped me move through a lot of my own past feelings of pain and loss is John Bradshaw.  I have included a video here of John Bradshaw on the Oprah Show.

 

 

Please let me know what you thought of John Bradshaw on Oprah.  And I’d love to hear about how you move toward Authentic Self.

As always thank you for taking the time to visit, I appreciate it.