Farm Field View with oilfield Pumpjack

Moss Jackson, PhD

Clinical Psychologist and Success Coach

Think back and consider all your past regrets:
I wasn’t appreciative towards my parents!
I cheated on my exams!
I lied to get out of a problem!
I betrayed my faith and values!
I threw my friend under the bus to advance my success!
I cheated on my spouse!

All of us have lied, betrayed, been dishonest, failed to live up to our values, etc. No one is immune because all of us are imperfect. We humans are a work in progress, not yet fully formed. We are a relatively new species to the planet and in some ways we are still Hunter/Gatherers trying to adapt to a highly technological world. We all have secrets that we dare not expose and many of us do not have much skill in managing our regrets and failures. The fear is too great: what would others think of you? How could I come out now afterward these years? It happened so long ago, I just have to live with what I did!

Trying to live up to perfection or some unrealistic standard is, in my opinion, a waste of time. No one ever can be perfect. It is a rigid fantasy that our religions, families and cultures have stuck us with, causing chronic pain and suffering. Regardless of what we do and what we struggle with, we are immersed in a marinade of regret.

Well, I have news for you! Holding onto your regrets is like holding onto a pile of shit. No matter what you do with it, it stinks. Shovel it to one side and it smells over there. Throw a towel over it and it still seeps through. Even if you spray a ton of Glade over it, once you step on it, you’re back to your original pile. Shit is shit: regrets are regrets! It is a mindset that you cannot get rid of.

But, you might ask, if the above is accurate, then what can you do about past regrets? The answer is threefold. First leave your regrets in the past where they belong. Acknowledge what you did and don’t make excuses. Second, ask yourself what you have learned from the experience. Lastly, create a future intention or desire to live into that allows you to express what you have learned.

For example, imagine that you took advantage of someone’s trust and betrayed a secret, consequently causing them hurt and embarrassment. Take responsibility for your careless and hurtful actions. Ask yourself what you learned from your actions. Perhaps it is learning that trust is sacred and honoring someone’s trust is what you now stand for. Intend to behave in a trustworthy way starting right now by honoring any promise not to disclose confidential information. Take actions that express this intention every day to build up your integrity. All you have to do is listen and keep your mouth shut around other people. A fourth step could be to admit to anyone you someone you have talked about that you have done so and apologize. Perhaps seeing the hurt in their eyes could feel like a slap in the face once you see the impact of your uncaring behavior.

Bottom line is to stop feeling guilty and hiding out. Keep learning and evolving. Turn your shit into manure and start fertilizing your life. Regain your integrity by keeping your word and your promises. Create a life worth living into and let go of your past regrets. This is the art of living a transformative life. Be a Life Navigator, not a Survivor!

You may want to check out my books on my website navigatingforsuccess.com.