Recently I was asked by a colleague if I had any regrets in my life. It is not the first time I’ve heard this question, but it is the first time I could honestly look my friend in the eye and reply, “No. I have no regrets at all.”
Every decision and choice has brought me to this specific place in time and by changing one small aspect, I may not be the woman I am today.
But, I haven’t always been this way.
There have been times during my 50 plus years that I said or done things based on what others expected me to do. I made poor decisions and found myself living with years of regret.
Where Does Regret Come From?
Regret is an emotion we carry, blaming ourselves for choices we wished we could go back and change. The more these choices stray from our values and priorities, the deeper our feelings of regret will be.
Regret walks in when we fail to live in alignment with our most authentic self.
“There are no regrets in life, just lessons.”
For years, I sat in churches listening to pastors preach hellfire and brimstone about various groups of people being damned to hell during sermons. Many times I would go home with a knot in my gut as I scoured my Bible trying to align the love of God with the condemnation of man.
After several years of inner conflict and a realization that I would disappoint some people, I left the church and began one of the most important journeys of my life.
“I’d rather be honest and authentic and disappoint some people than to exhaust myself trying to keep up the façade of perfection.” ~Crystal Paine
Discover Who You Are Created to Be
Each of us spends far too much time worrying about what people will say or think about us. We let others guilt us into living a life they think we should be living, but the only thing this does is silence our voice and limit our abilities in being who we were created to be.
The authentic self is you at your absolute core. It is the part of you not defined by what you do. It is an entirely different level of existence that is the genuine substance of who you are.
You may already know your calling, or you may have the opinion of others filling your heart and mind, and you aren’t sure what your purpose is right now. But you can discover who you are beginning today.
Think about every aspect of your life; think about what you have always wanted to do. What are your hopes and dreams, not only for your life but for this world?
Start Believing and Begin Doing
For as long as I can remember, my heart has always had a soft spot for the homeless. But it wasn’t until a couple of years ago that I did something about it.
Instead of driving by and looking away as they stood on the corner, I began to park my car in a nearby parking lot and walk over to talk to them. I learned their names, a little bit about their story, and I gave them a piece of my heart by showing them they mattered.
Speaking our heart more than our mind is one way to live authentically.
Why The World Needs Our Authenticity
“Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.” ~ Henry David Thoreau
It takes courage to be authentic, especially in a world that has strong opinions, rejection, and uncertainty. We can find ourselves at the very edge of our comfort zone, as fear rears its ugly head, when we are faced with situations and when we need to speak up.
The students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School are showing us the power of authentic living. They are speaking from the heart, connecting with people around the world, powerfully and movingly, working for change.
Authenticity breaks down barriers and builds relationships. It promotes growth and offers freedom. It creates opportunities to share our stories and can impact and help others who may go through similar experiences.
Be Authentic = No Regrets
Studies have shown that the number one regret of people in the last days of their life is that they didn’t live life to their true self and, instead, lived it to the expectations of others.
What about you?
Are you living a life that reflects who you were created to be, your “authentic” self? Or are you living a life that the world has told you to be, your “fictional” self?
“The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are.” ― C.G. Jung