What do you often regret? That you didn't get to say goodbye to a loved one who suddenly left this world? That you stayed too long in a relationship where you were unappreciated? Or maybe that you worked too hard and mismanaged your money? We are used to thinking that regret is a negative emotion. But you can see it differently - as a reason to think about what is worth changing in life.
Eight reasons to regret after 35 years
You may have heard of palliative care nurse Bronnie Ware's book, The Five Chief Regrets of the Dying. In it, Ware summarized all the things people on death's doorstep regret that they wish they had done differently. And what about those who have many years of life ahead of them? What can we change right now, while there is still time?
These are the questions clinical psychologist Karen Nimmo asked. She conducted a survey among her friends and clients - 50 people between the ages of 35 and 60. There was no control group or strict rules. Nimmo simply asked the subjects one question: What do you regret the most?
She expected to hear the standard answers: not spending enough time with loved ones, choosing the wrong career path, not spending or saving money wisely, hurting others, misbehaving...
Some survey participants did answer this way. But there were also many unexpected choices.
1.DIDN'T DO WHAT THEY SHOULD HAVE DONE BEFORE SOMEONE ELSE DIED
Someone was not there for their loved ones when they were going through grief. Someone failed to stop a friend from attempting suicide. Someone had a fight with their father on the eve of his death in a car accident. Several persons bitterly regretted that they had not tried to improve relations with their relatives while they still had the opportunity, or that they had not spent enough time with them.
The conversation with the psychologist allowed them to rethink their current relationships with others and become more conscious of them.
2.WERE TOO ANXIOUS.
Nimmo's subjects also regretted suppressing or hiding feelings, not speaking openly about their desires or trying too hard to please everyone. Fear and insecurity were the reasons they didn't do things they dreamed of, take risks, or try new things.
3.NEVER STEPPED OUT OF THEIR COMFORT ZONE
Stability, predictability, and peace of mind beckon many people. But this strong attachment to our comfort zone often leads to a life of boredom that we later repent.
Everyone has said so. Even those who make a lot of money were upset because they were not spending wisely.
5.NOT LEAVING AN UNHEALTHY RELATIONSHIP
A boring, hateful but high-paying job, a relationship with a toxic or simply unloving partner, staying in a marriage "for the sake of the kids"... Of course, people live this kind of life all over the place. But that doesn't mean that years from now they won't regret their decisions.
6. THEY MADE A MISTAKE WITH THEIR CHOICE OF PROFESSION
...and never studied again. These regrets are characteristic of people who are dissatisfied with their established professional life. For example, those who didn't follow their dreams and change jobs because they thought it was "too late to try new things and start from scratch. The good news is that it's never too late to learn - not at 35 or 60.
In this case, it's not so clear-cut. While some regretted things beyond their control - not meeting a life partner or not being able to have children, others regretted the wrong choices. For example, marrying too young or failing to realize their career ambitions.
8.ACTED STUPIDLY OR MEANLY
We all at least sometimes hurt someone close to us-friends, partners, or parents. Abuse alcohol, break the rules, or have sex with random people. Many of Nimmo's subjects regretted being too self-absorbed. That they were naive, stupid or arrogant. That they didn't know how to apologize. Again, the good news is that it's never too late to change.
What are your biggest regrets?
As we've said before, regrets can be helpful-they signal the mistakes we've made, the wrong things we've done to others, or the fact that we haven't been too careful with ourselves. If we listen to them carefully, they can lead us to new, right decisions and choices.
Of course, we shouldn't dwell on what we didn't do well-it's important to look forward and take advantage of the opportunities that come our way. Still, what do you regret the most? Think about it. There may still be a chance to make up for lost time - at the very least, in new relationships, new beginnings and with new people.