You're Carrying Too
The Lighter the Load
The Faster The Journey
Just today I got an email from someone with whom I had a bit of a falling out with. It was a professional disagreement that spilled over into affecting our personal relationship. The email was a response to a short email I sent checking in and making sure that he was alright. Almost immediately the door had been open to a reconciliation. Although I was completely ok with the tension as I felt the betrayal had warranted, I cannot explain to you how much lighter I felt once the that door to forgiveness and understanding had been open.
I am not even particularly close with this person, aside from the scenario that brought up the conflict, it is conceivable that I would not see this person for a period of months. But the power of shaking off the weight of a situation that you regret is so liberating that even small instances can be transformative.
People Smarter Than Me!
This isn’t a profound realization, nor is it very original. Countless thought leaders around the world stress the importance of successfully handling regret.
The reason that most of us conduct our lives in a state of prolonged regret is not because we are unaware of the weight of it, but the because we are more afraid of acute pain of fixing it than we are of chronic pain of sustaining regret.
People avoid surgeries to repair worn out joints and muscles because the fear of the acute pain of the surgeon’s scalpel, somehow outranks that of endless constant nagging presented by enduring disfunction.
Blame and Regret
It’s human nature to opt for regret than to accept some kind of risk. This is even more the case if we can pass the blame for that regret onto someone else. I live in a community that keeps saying that it want’s to get better, but is petrified of change. Any acute pain or inconvenience that could lead to a better future. This phenomenon is not uncommon and actually has a name, “Diffusion of Responsibility.”
The diffusion or responsibility probably has its best example in the case of the woman being mugged in front of a crowded apartment building. And no one calling 911. This phenomenon is also called the “Bystander Effect” When active agency is not explicitly your responsibility you are less likely to take action. In this regard, if you can shift the responsibility for your inaction to someone else you are more likely to follow a pattern of living and decision making that causes lifelong regret.
There are two reasons I wrote this blog post:
- I am trying to build a Coaching business. Part of that is developing a following, and the best way I can do that is by blogging at least one long form blog a week.
- The relief of even letting go of a little bit of regret was liberating. Whether it’s in your job, in a friendship, your health, your family, the acute pain of facing a conflict head on, apologizing or even just getting over the awkward first text message, is nothing compared, to the cumulative damage that inaction and sustained regret can cause.
So take action , it doesn’t have to be a big move. It can be putting the first 20 dollar bill in the piggy bank for that trip to Portugal. It could be inviting a long lost friend out for a coffee. Whatever it is the one thing you have to realize is that you are in control. Regret is thrust upon us rather it is accepted with open arms and closed minds.
All the best