Five Regrets That Shouldn't Be

Author Marc Muchnick knows about the power of regret and how it is a crippling force in many people's lives. The problem is that it doesn't need to be because many so-called regrets are actually powerful motivators and educators.

To illustrate this point, Marc presents his list of The Five Things We Tend to Regret -- And Why We Shouldn't Regret Them:

Regret #1: Taking a chance on love only to find heartache in the end.

Putting your heart out there is not easy, and when our quest for love results in disappointment it can be disillusioning, demoralizing and downright depressing. What we have to remember is that it’s tough to find love if you don’t take the risk of making your heart vulnerable. While there is always the possibility of rejection or coming up empty handed, that is better than the regret of not having tried.

Regret #2: Paying your dues in a job that ultimately leads to nowhere.

No one wants to wind up in a dead end job after working hard to succeed. Whether because of a reorganization, someone else getting promoted into a position you wanted, or opportunity simply drying up, the end result is the same: it feels like you’ve wasted your time. But have you? After all, weren’t there learnings along the way? Think of what you can take with you from this experience and where you’re headed in the future. Look at it as a chance to get clear on what you want out of your career.

Regret #3: Getting in a disagreement with someone you really care about.

It would be wonderful if we always agreed on everything and never had any friction in relationships. But that’s not reality. Disagreement and conflict are inevitable, even with people we dearly love. The trouble is when we hold our feelings in and avoid confrontation, we consequently feel stifled and fail to communicate. Even worse is when we act like things are okay when in fact they are far from it. Every healthy relationship has conflict; the key is taking the time to work through it.

Regret #4: Feeling guilty about taking a break from work.

There is something to be said for having a strong work ethic. But sometimes we get so caught up in our careers and have so much on our plates that we actually feel bad about taking time away from work. Somewhere along the line we convinced ourselves that stopping to take lunch, working less than ten hours a day, or using all of our vacation days is not a good thing. Moreover, with e-mail and texting we are essentially always “on call.” The result is that we spend so much time working and thinking about work, we forget about living and enjoying life. Give yourself permission to take a break – you’ll never look back at the end of your life and regret not spending more time at work.

Regret #5: Not being able to say goodbye to a loved one.

Losing someone that we care about is never easy, but sometimes we are unable to say our final goodbyes due to distance, finances, or other obligations in life. The guilt – and regret – that we feel in such situations can be overwhelming. What we must realize is that our sadness is also because we truly miss this person. Although you may not have the closure you wanted in the end, the good times you spent with this individual while here on Earth cannot be taken away. Take time to reflect on the experiences you shared together and realize that those special moments are forever.


Gary Brumback said...

Thanks Marc. Regret is much more constructive and healthy than guilt. Believe it or not there is a distinguished researcher in the U.S. who recently claimed from his research that guilty leaders are the better leaders!

Gary Brumback

Tesse said...

Hi Marc, it seems that this post ticks every box for me. It has taking me years to learn the vital lessons you talk about. When my brother Martin died and my mum died within five weeks of each other, I thought my life was over and I would never smile again. I almost died six months after this, and by a sheer miracle pulled through. With lots of love, appreciation, nurture and care I have learnt that life and living are too short to spend valuable time on regrets. We've got to make every second count and let regrets be our teacher rather than our foe.

Keven Carson said...

This material is central to being human. Sadly, your capacity for reflective depth and non-obvious writing is completely missing.

Your post is nothing but pablum. Seriously, is this the best you can come up with??

Tesse said...

Keven you support my point exactly. It is the capacity to understand and empathise and to stand in the gap when people are going through pain, loss and grief that makes a difference. And yes, this is the best I can come up with. Sometimes writing does not express all there is to life...and there in lies the learning and the depth.