the 'legacy' of regret

Over time, I have developed a personal sense of “say it, if it needs to be said.”

Most of us have experienced some sort of anguish or pain. For instance, we know that the grief of losing a loved one is a lot to grapple with. It becomes unbearable, when in addition to coping with the irreplaceable loss, it is painfully compounded with the “if only” storm of regrets.

These unsettling ‘if only’ scenarios play up in our minds through self-agonizing statements like “if only I had spent more time with him.”, “if only I had not wasted that opportunity to tell her the truth about how I felt.”, “if only I had resolved our fight and told her it was not her fault.”, “if only I had a bit more time to say what I really felt…”.

We may even play out these actual conversations in our mind for that cathartic release. Yet, we are faced with the reality, that we did not say, or do what we wanted to.

That opportunity is gone. What held us back? Once again, it was that operative word, ‘IF’.

“What if she misunderstands…what if he doesn’t like it…what if I am wrong…what if I am seen as pushy…what if I look silly…what if others think I am out of line…?”.

What drove this ‘if’?  FEAR. It belongs to our PRESENT.

Do we want our fears to continue defining us, to be muffling our values, and even sapping the strength we possess to empower others?

What is the outcome of this fear?  REGRET. It is a ‘legacy’ of our PAST.

After all, we single-handedly built it, and invested in it. Reframing it as our personal legacy, suggests inheritance, ownership. With ownership, comes accountability.

We are able to take stock of what to keep, discard, or change. The legacy of regret is not something we want to grow. Yet, it is rich in lessons to draw upon. It could embolden us to not leave things unsaid nor actions undone. It could remind us to pluck the courage to express our love for those who stand by us forever. It could inform us how to structure that thorny conversation caused by our shortcomings. It could soften us as we recall the unintended hurt caused another. It could encourage us to be audacious as some things need to be said or done.

It tells us, ‘if’ should be dispensed with, if ‘IF’ is going to be a regrettable legacy…

Sharma Kumari

Sharma Kumari

Step by Stepz Founder, over 25 years industry and international experience, with core expertise in HR-Talent Management and L&D. Led and managed wide-range of assignments, including speaking / training engagements in more than 15 countries.

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