or…how can I avoid the Most Common Regrets at the End of Life, as seen in several mainstream venues:
- “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me”. I find this ‘regret’ to be a major over-simplification. It presumes that we all have the freedom to do just what we want to do. We may be born into a life of responsibility. Maybe other people’s well-being depends on us.
- “I wish I didn’t work so hard”. Some of us have to work hard in order to put food on the table.
- “I wish I had the courage to express my feelings”. I don’t think the issue is not expressing feelings. I think it’s more ‘holding on’ to negative feelings, unless you’ve been very miserly in doling out the love and appreciation.
- “I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends”.
- I wish that I had let myself be happier.
I do hope that the short piece below provides some encouragement.
An Excerpt from Emotional Intimacy: A Comprehensive Guide for Connecting with the Power of Your Emotions by Robert Augustus Masters VIA WWW.Spirituality and Practice.com
“There is another kind of joy that could be called realizational joy. By this, I mean the joy that arises when we have achieved something very significant and recognize it as such without any egoic inflation. For example, we’ve worked hard — very hard — to reach a certain capacity in our vocation and now have clearly done so. There is no mistaking that we have arrived at this place in our work and are now established there. The joy that arises from this depended — not depends, but depended — on certain conditions being met and now remains, usually as a kind of emotional background or backdrop, as we proceed, having already arrived at a deeper stage of our work.
“Situational joy can be selfish or me-centered — or unhealthy, as when it arises at the expense of others’ well-being. But it can also be we-centered, as in the elated/generous sharing of bounty or good fortune with others. And sometimes the contagiousness and open-heartedness of such joy can stretch it into a bigger, far more expansive sense of we-centeredness, as exemplified by the Buddhist practice of mudita, a Pali and Sanskrit term meaning ‘sympathetic joy,’ a joy readily felt when others succeed or do well. Practicing mudita means, in part, meeting those aspects of ourselves that don’t wish others well; it necessitates deepening our knowing of ourselves in more than just intellectual ways. As such, the practice of mudita helps pave the way toward recognizing our innate or nonsituational happiness.
“And doing our inner and relational work, hard as it can be, has as one of its rewards the joy of knowing that all situations can be worked with, used to deepen and enrich us. This joy, the joy that comes from learning how to keep our heart open during dark times, constitutes true happiness, a core-level ‘yes’ that cannot be extinguished by the challenges of living and dying. . . .”.