The results of studies show that when individuals are asked about the things they've done wrong, the majority regret not so much what they've done RIGHT as what they haven't done AT ALL: pursued higher education, followed a career ladder, developed and maintained close personal relationships, had children or taken the time to develop their personal development.
What is it about the things we did achieve that we regret?
This is because, when we reflect on our life in retrospect, we know that it is very improbable that we will be able to "bring back" anything we regret not having done.
Nursing student and Australian terminally ill patient Bronnie Ware wrote "The Top Five Regrets of Dying," a collection of five regrets expressed by those she treated.
Here are five regrets I have and how they've harmed my relationships:
To be honest, I don't think I dare to be myself instead of conforming to what people expect of me.
In a relationship, many people aren't being completely honest with one other. They're terrified of being judged and rejected, and they're afraid of being chastised. They've been taught from an early age that expressing their wants and demands is expensive.
Adults, on the other hand, are more likely to "accommodate" their spouse's wishes because they are afraid of disappointing their relationship. Their inability to build and maintain an equal partnership means that they are unhappy no matter how many partners they have.
The definition of being true to oneself is: taking off your false personas and acting by your actual nature, motivated by feelings of self-worth and empowerment. It is possible to be sincere with your lover if you are sincere with yourself. When this happens, you have a better chance of developing a fulfilling connection that is honest and healthy.
I wish I didn't have to put in so much time at work.
Many people spend so much time at work that they neglect to engage in personal relationships. 'Time is money,' they say to themselves. 'They must bring revenue home.' 'They must take care of themselves professionally.'
But in the end, people who have gone beyond their profession, putting it first and ignoring their personal lives, come to regret it, whether they are abandoned by their lovers or have to share a house with strangers.
If you care for your spouse, you will take the time to be there for them, share your time and interests, and have the sense that you are creating a future together. It's critical to communicate freely about how to keep a healthy relationship going when both of you are working (or studying).
Open communication is essential for creating and maintaining a healthy and happy intimacy in which you and your partner can support and be there for each other despite your hectic job and/or education schedule.
I wish I had the confidence to speak out about how I really feel.
Many people try to "live in peace" with their relationships by denying and repressing their feelings and emotions. The inability to express oneself is inextricably linked to not being oneself. As a result, they have a restricted sense of self-expression throughout their lives.
Lack of self-expression frequently leaves people feeling resentful and furious because their spouses "haven't allowed them to express themselves."
It's beneficial to your relationship if you're honest about your sentiments. Instead of concealing your "real self," you reveal "who you are." You can't have a healthy, true closeness unless you're authentic. Being authentic means expressing yourself.
I regret not keeping in touch with more of my pals.
Many people who are in a committed relationship overlook the need to maintain close personal relationships. Instead of valuing their friendship, they sacrifice it "on the altar of the relationship." It's also possible that their spouse feels envious and wants them to stop visiting their old pals, both male and female.
It's possible that neglecting former pals can come back to haunt them later on in the relationship, when they need support or develop resentment against their spouse for having "forced" them cut off their past ties because of their partner's actions.
It's critical to have a strong network of family and friends. A person is an individual regardless of whether or not they establish a partnership. Everyone needs a support network, and forsaking your buddies to "please" your spouse may frequently lead to long-term damage.
To have a successful, long-term romantic connection, you must express your want to retain your friends, make an effort to stay in contact with them and be honest with yourself about your needs and desires.
I regret not allowing myself to be more content.
Many people are unaware that they have the power to choose whether or not they are happy. Many people are still behaving in the same old ways. Many people are afraid of change, so they put on masks and don't show their true selves in relationships.
For many, they wish they had a more personal connection or understood how to maintain their relationship because they regret it. What was the reason they didn't? Because they were not honest and did not communicate their actual emotions, wants, and desires; because they were not true to themselves; because they sacrificed themselves on the altar of the relationship; because they lacked the guts to be who they truly are.
Be sure to act now before it's too late!
It's never too late to make the required adjustments to ensure that later in life you may look back and say, "I don't have regrets; I've done everything I could to create and maintain a satisfactory relationship with which I am satisfied."
I outlined the Top Five Regrets above as they apply to good personal relationships, and considering how you "do" your own relationships may help you think about them a little more deeply. In a relationship, you may be compelled to think about and reflect on whether or not you let yourself be "who you are" and express yourself freely; whether or not you are true to yourself.
To develop and maintain a satisfying closeness, you must be mindful of how you approach and engage with your spouse.