Regret is a daunting emotion. There are church sermons, books on self-forgiveness and a host of other ways to talk about events or decisions in your life that you wish had a different outcome. There was an article written about an end of life nurse named Bronnie Ware. She habitually asked her patients with less than a year of life left about their greatest regrets. The collective answers were eerily similar.
One common theme, they wished they hadn’t made decisions based on other peoples opinions. Keep in mind the suggestions of family and friends may be a great answer but not the right solution for you.
They wished they hadn’t worked so hard. This might sound obvious too many of you, but it is not what I would have guessed based on my conversations. Mother Teresa most likely didn’t say that upon her final years any more than Billy Graham would. Some have destroyed families and relationships by over-doing the work hours, but that is why you should have balance in all things whenever possible.
They wished they had expressed their feelings. This one we can relate to in our legacy meetings. “My father never said he loved me” or holding back telling the truth about how they felt about words, events or actions of others. These are common in our discussions. The tongue is a double-edged sword but so is the regret of not trying to express yourself, apparently.
They wish they had stayed in touch with their friends. Remember this was over the last 25 years and one would suppose that social media has relieved this issue to a degree. Once more we find “time” being a central resource in peoples happiness. Time shared with family and friends is often what we hear as the most valued memories for the families we serve.
They wish they had let themselves be happy. Part of my career was helping Federal Probation officers. Every office I went into, the person in charge was hated and despised by their colleagues with one exception. When asked why he was the stand-alone exception, Bobby looked at me and said: “Big Joe, I learned a long time ago to take my job very seriously and myself not at all!” Give yourself a break and be happy!
What’s your regret? Pastor Andy Stanley would ask you this question: “Based on your past experiences, current situation, and your future hopes and dreams, what would be wise for you to do at this moment?” This is not advising you to throw caution to the wind or abandon your savings disciplines. Merely a prod to remind you to enjoy life when you can. What can you do right now to eliminate that regret?
Financially, for many families regret is 180 degrees different. Some regret not spending and missing out on retirement dreams others regretted not saving more sooner. You can find more on this topic on our podcast “Consider This Program” on April 27, 2019.
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