This post about living with regret was written by Marc and Angel Chernoff and has been republished with permission.
“If only…” These two words paired together create one of the saddest phrases in the English language. Living with regret is difficult, as many of us know, but it doesn't have to be that way. Ever wondered if there's anything you could do now, to make sure you don't end up feeling bitter, sad, or wishing you could go back in time and change things?
Here are five choices that ultimately lead to this phrase of regret, and how to elude them.
Wearing a mask to impress others. If the face you always show the world is a mask, someday there will be nothing beneath it. Because when you spend too much time concentrating on everyone else’s perception of you, or who everyone else wants you to be, you eventually forget who you really are. Don’t fear the judgments of others; you know in your heart who you are and what’s true to you. You don’t have to be perfect to impress people. Let them be impressed by how you deal with your imperfections.
Keeping negative company. Don’t let someone who has a bad attitude pass it on to you. Don’t let them get to you. They can’t pull the trigger if you don’t hand them the gun. When you remember that keeping the company of negative people is a choice, instead of an obligation, you free yourself to keep the company of compassion instead of anger, generosity instead of greed, and patience instead of anxiety.
Settling for less than you deserve. Be strong enough to let go and wise enough to fight for what you deserve. Sometimes you have to get knocked down lower than you have ever been to stand up taller than you ever were before. Sometimes your eyes need to be washed by your tears so you can see the possibilities in front of you with a clearer vision again and learn how to he happy. Don’t settle; it's a bad habit to start.
Endlessly waiting until tomorrow. The trouble is, you always think you have more time than you do. But one day you will wake up and there won’t be any more time to work on the things you’ve always wanted to do. And at that point you either will have achieved the goals you set for yourself, or you will have a list of excuses for why you haven’t. Which would you rather?
Being lazy and wishy-washy. The world doesn’t owe you anything, you owe the world something. So stop daydreaming and start DOING. Develop a backbone, not a wishbone. Take full responsibility for your life; take control. You are important and you are needed. It’s too late to sit around and wait for somebody to do something someday. Someday is now; the somebody the world needs is YOU.
Marc and Angel Chernoff are professional life coaches who enjoy sharing inspirational advice and practical tips for life on their popular personal development blog Marc and Angel Hack Life. Their first book, "1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently," is a collection of tips and reflections on the little things that make a huge difference in our daily lives. Follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.