Looking back on my decision and its outcome, I still have no regrets. But I also have something else, something that I didn't anticipate. Looking back on my trip and my lack of regret for it got me thinking. Why can't it be that way for everything in my life? Why can't I simply decide to live without regret?
Begin with the end
I don't regret my trip because from the start I saw it for what it is. I don't know the future, but I know that, if that opportunity to see my mother would be the last to make memories while she could still recognize me and I didn't take it, I would regret it for the rest of my life. I refused to live with that regret. And so I embraced my travel with the end in mind.
And that's the key. Stephen Covey's first habit of highly effective people is to begin with the end in mind. That speaks to the need to be self-aware. After all, you can't begin with the end you aren't aware of.
That's more than just an awareness you want a life without regret. It's an awareness of the choices you can make today that promote or prevent that end. I didn't know and still don't know whether the opportunity I just took is the last to be with my mother while she still recognizes me. But I do know the potential it had to become such. And I refused to tolerate that possibility.
Become aware and act
It's really not any more complicated than that. Gain an awareness of yourself and the potential your choices have to lead you towards or away from the end you want. And then act accordingly.
That's not just for living life without regret. That's for any end you want in life. Adopting an end in which your life has no regret is just a good place to start. It will give you courage to go farther and pursue your fullest potential, a life without regret, the life that is your best life.
The path that leads you there will of course have challenges. I faced resistance before making my journey to see my mother. My advisor expressed disapproval with my decision to travel home. But I held firm and shared my rationale for my decision. He understood, and we made plans for what would happen after my return.
I don't think everyone will have that experience. Sometimes things won't work out. Sometimes you'll stand your ground, and your challenges will overcome you. But you can always hold your head high knowing you chose to live your life without regret.
Make your choice today
I've made plenty of choices that brought regret into my life. I've known regret in both the short and long term. And now I know it doesn't have to be that way. I can live without regret.
So can you. You can live without regret if you will gain the awareness you need of yourself and your choices to know the end you want and then make those choices that will lead you to that end. That decision won't remove the regret you already have from past choices. Only Christ and His Atonement can do that. But you can decide to embrace the Atonement, just as you can decide that from this moment forward you will live without regret.
So live without regret. Life is too beautiful and time too precious. Don't squander them with choices that will bring regret in any amount. Know yourself, know what you want, and go after it. And every day you don't have it, keep going after it. Don't apologize, don't make excuses, and don't delay any longer. Start living your life without regret today. You'll savor the wonder of living more fully. And that will bring you more joy in your journey.
Howdy! I'm Lance, host of Joy in the Journey Radio. I've been blogging about LDS singles life since 2012, and since 2018 I've been producing a weekly Internet radio show and podcast to help LDS singles have more joy in their journey and bring all Latter-day Saints together. Let's engage a conversation that will increase the faith of LDS singles and bring singles and marrieds together in a true unity of the faith.
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