Regret is an interesting emotion, isn’t it?

The fear of regret makes us do a lot of wonderful things. It makes us go the extra mile to say “I love you” one more time, and give that special one another hug. It reminds us to enjoy every moment like it was our last.

But the same fear can make us choose unwisely. It convinces us to go back to the ex we just broke up with, settle for less in life and suppress our dreams and desires.

What is it about regret that pushes us to either extreme? How can we differentiate between the good and the evil?

The most convoluted issues in our lives have the simplest solutions, if we listen to our hearts. Does it ever feel good to let go of a dream? Is the walk back to an ex ever as exciting as a hopeful new love? If not, why do we let ourselves settle for less?

Listen to your heart, irrespective of how big you dream, or how unrealistic your desires may be. Being faithful to your dreams brings with it a sense of freedom and empowerment. It’s a feeling that satisfies the deepest cravings of the soul.

Fear is positive, it gives us the capacity to take an extra step forward and challenge ourselves. However, fear can also be negative if we let doubt creep in and accept that we aren’t the person we wished we were.

Here are a few things the dying do not regret; why they have contentment in their hearts and why the memories of their past overcome the fear of what lies ahead.

1) Falling in love, over and over again.

I’m referring to the times when your heart skips a beat and words refuse to flow, when your mind is enslaved and you become alien to your own feelings.

Looking back, it is nearly impossible to regret falling in love, irrespective of how difficult getting out of it must have been. Falling in love is personal, it’s about you and how it makes you feel. Ironically, it has nothing to do with your object of desire.

Whether your object of desire is aware of your feelings or not is immaterial and unnecessary for you to fall in love. The days still seem brighter and the evenings just as romantic. Every memory of the moment seems magical.

So, why hold back? Let yourself slip, trip and tumble in love. Because with matters of the heart, it is useless to have your feet on the ground.

2) Forgiving them all.

I am not recommending that you forgive and forget, that might make you return to old habits and repeat mistakes. But, holding on to resentment is unhealthy. Not only does it take up all your positive energy, but it leaves less room for all the goodness awaiting you in the present.

You can’t change people, the only thing we have control over is ourselves. It’s difficult to see the big picture when we hold on to grudges and it makes understanding the other side almost impossible. You don’t have to be right to be happy, and choosing wisely between the two can make all the difference.

3) Overestimating themselves.

Our modest side cringes at this idea, but give it a fair chance. What does it take for a person to take a leap of faith out of their comfort zone? A hint of ignorance, blind faith and believing that they are better than they truly are.

You have to overestimate yourself to move up. It’s the most effective way to learn about yourself and challenge yourself to take a risk. How else will you ever know what you were capable of?

What is the worst that can happen anyway? You might land back where you started, but at least you’ll know you gave it your best shot. There is nothing fun in realizing, at the end of the road, that all your limitations were self imposed.

There is no excuse to settle for less.

4) Staying connected.

Taking time from our extremely busy schedules to keep in touch with friends and family seems like a lot of effort during our most vibrant years. Yet, it is what differentiates the happy and the not-so-happy over time.

Making new friends is an easy endeavor in our youthful years, but maintaining and nurturing those relationships becomes crucial in later years. It’s easy to let old relationships fade, but it’s those old ties that need the most attention. They will sustain you when the world crashes in on you.

Learn to differentiate between family, friends, acquaintances, colleagues and associates. Spend intimate time with people that matter and that you truly click with, the satisfaction of an evening well spent is seldom achieved at formal social gathering.

Those in the company of loved ones are said to be happier and more content with their lives. Loneliness brings with it bitterness and regret, which  we all want to avoid in our older years. No one regrets the time they spent laughing with loved ones.

5) Taking a chance.

Taking risks are the most terrifying and exhilarating moments of our lives. Whether it was asking your high school sweetheart out for prom or skydiving, the memories of these moments still make your tummy tingle.

It requires a tremendous amount of courage to take a chance. The fear can be so great that it numbs our senses and restricts our ability to think. But, this numbness is natures way of pushing us through the fear and facilitating the final jump.

Magical things happen when we take such plunges in life. Things that you thought were out of your league become accessible, dreams become reality and the fear of regret is replaced by the excitement of new possibilities.

Life is too short to live with regret. Now is the time to make changes in your life, do what you always wished you could, love more dearly and focus on what truly matters.

Featured photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/powderruns/ via flickr.com

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