Sunday, January 27, 2019

Understand Regrets

We all have regrets in life, and it's critical to take time to reflect upon those regrets from time to time. When you understand your regrets well, you gain good energy for living well.

What are my regrets?

One of my regrets is that I didn't feel more positive about myself as a young girl. Perhaps all young people are wary about who they are and where they fit into society, but I was especially self conscious and disappointed with who I was as a young girl. When I think about this, I can see lots of reasons why this occurred. One reason was that I worked and lived with a number of men who ridiculed me and women in general continuously--that ridicule seeped into me and made me feel less worthwhile. Next, I loved learning and creating and that was not valued in my world as much as my looks--the people in my close and extended world seem to be more concerned with what women looked like than who they were. It was the age of Twiggy and I was the antithesis of Twiggy--I didn't feel like I was a valued person in society. Further I had a great deal of responsibility. I worked a lot. I babysat a lot. I volunteered a lot. I was very, very busy with little time to reflect or think about who I was, what I wanted, and where I was going. I was directed more than nurtured--there is a big difference between direction and nurturing. Nurturing is the concerted cultivation that Gladwell speaks so well about in his book, Outliers. Direction treats you more like a robot or a puppet than a person. Now everyone can look back at their childhood and see areas of regret as well as areas of great joy. I had a childhood full of loving people, exciting events, positive activity, and good care, but I think I would have grown with greater self esteem if people around me valued me more as an individual than as a someone who was supposed to fulfill very narrow expectations. That's why I feel strongly about helping my children to become the people they are--people who have good relationships, follow their dreams/passion, invest in good development, have fun, and contribute to the world around them.

Another regret I have is that I didn't take advantage of the supports available. There were so many supports available to me in the culture, supports that I didn't take enough advantage of. I think I would have taken greater advantage of those supports if I was more clear about who I was and where I was headed. One good example of this is the time a great college professor who liked my ideas invited me to spend some time with him to discuss my studies. I was too shy to follow up on that, but if I had, I would have had a great chance to learn more about the areas of study I loved and was invested in. Similarly an artist once invited me to spend time with him and his friends--that would have been a great chance to join a group of people who shared my interests and skills. Further my college, graduate school, and jobs have all had tremendous supports for greater learning and development. It took me until my later life and my many terrific connections on Twitter and other social media threads to finally begin to maximize those supports for better teaching, parenting, and living. It's important that we direct our children and students towards an open attitude with regard to accessing the great supports that exist, supports that can truly uplift their lives.

One more regret I have is that too often I haven't thought deeply about some of my relationships. Like an annoying fly in your midst, I've sometimes let annoying aspects of relationships persist without the deep think and conversation needed to remedy and make better. It's good not to put off annoyances that weaken relationships, and deal with those annoyances instead in ways that are kind, empathetic, and forward moving. Fortunately in my later life, I've been mentored by people who are good at talking about the difficult issues that can happen in relationships--these people have taught me to better deal with relationship snags and annoyances.

In the end what these regrets show is that we all have to take more time to reflect deeply about our lives, who we are, and what we can do to live the best possible lives. Too often we just go along with same routines and responses which positively serve to strengthen the positive areas of our lives, but may negatively affect the areas of regret and need in our lives. We want to live lives with few regrets, and to think about regrets now and then will help you to do that .