We all have regrets; they’re a part of life. Most people are able to put them into perspective and not allow them to dominate their thoughts but some people seem to live their life as one never ending ‘what if’! What if I had taken that job in Albuquerque; what if I had married my childhood sweetheart; what if I had joined the circus when it came through town; what if…?
The problem with always wondering ‘what if’ and imagining the life that might have been is that people hold themselves back from living the life they are living. How can anyone enjoy their life to the fullest if they are constantly looking backwards instead of forward?”
When presented with two options – maybe a fork in the road representing two completely different life paths – if we opt for one direction and later think maybe the second choice might have given us a better result, naturally we regret not having chosen it. When we allow our mind to imagine what might have been, not surprisingly it will imagine it as if everything had gone perfectly.
But would it have?
When confronted with a choice, if you think about it carefully and opt to go in one direction based on the best information available; that’s the right decision. If later you discover the other choice might have been the better one, it’s pointless to get upset about it.
You made the best decision you could armed with the information you had. You didn’t know how it was going to turn out. If we could all go through life knowing exactly how every decision was going to turn out, there would be no need for decisions. We’d all just steer towards the outcome we like the most.
So, don’t second guess yourself if you make a choice and it doesn’t turn out exactly the way you hope; accept it and move on. It’s also entirely possible that if you had taken the other route in life, it might not have turned out the way you wanted either. In fact I can almost guarantee that no matter what route you take in life, there are going to be disappointments. Things are not always going to happen the way you hope.
There is no perfect road in life and we cannot pursue all the avenues that are presented to us. There is no route which will ensure everything is going to go right all the time. Things are going to take a turn you had not anticipated no matter which road you take in life. That’s okay. If things didn’t veer off course once in a while, life would be pretty boring. It’s what you learn from those occasions that really matter.
We all have regrets and we all go through the process of saying ‘what if’, but the fact is, it’s self-defeating and it holds us back from living the life we ARE living. Left to your imagination your mind will turn every avenue you didn’t explore into the most fabulously successful experience you never had. In your mind, everything would have gone right.
But here’s the thing…maybe it wouldn’t have; maybe it would have been worse.
So don’t beat yourself up pondering things that never were.
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Copyright January 2015 – MD Tinney, Author of “Re-Energize Your Life”