July 20, 2012
Disappointments and Regrets by Daryl Leisey
Some time ago, an individual I was with told me they had recently realized that for most of their life they had spent an extraordinary amount of time talking themselves out of doing the right thing when it came to developing and building relationships. The result of that patterned behavior had led to a realization that their life was relationally shallow with few acquaintances and no close friends.
That conversation really struck me. I began to think about the situations and conversations in my life where I had done the exact same thing. Like the time I was feeling like I should have apologized for my part in a heated conversation but rationalized that it wasn’t that big of an issue and besides, they were a willing participant anyway. Or the time when I decided not to reach out to someone who was going through a difficult time in their life because I rationalized that I didn’t know what to say.
I remember a number of years ago, as my children were getting older; I began to notice that the hugs that had been so freely given for so many years had begun to wane in their frequency. As I began to think about the disappointment I was beginning to feel, I realized that I had, many years prior, stopped giving my father a hug, something that I realized had been very meaningful to him. I began the process of rationalizing why doing that would not really be necessary, telling myself that since he never said anything, it probably wasn’t important to him. One evening, I unexpectantly ran into my dad and without much forethought gave him a hug. After the initial shock, a huge smile came across his face. From then on, a hug became a regular part of our greeting.
Disappointments in life are many times unavoidable. However, living a life free of regrets is one of the greatest gifts we can give to ourselves. It is never too late to start (over) and do the right thing.