Regrets, I’ve had a few. Now get determined to have even fewer!
Life is rolling by faster and faster and it’s easy to miss what’s important in life, love and living. So today I’m challenging you to step up and eliminate regret!
Gay Girl Toolbox Challenge: 5 Things Not To Regret!
And this summer is the perfect time to re-evaluate the way you live and why!
As I spend my summer on the road with The Gay Girl Love Tour, I get time to evaluate my life, my intentions and my actions on a pretty regular basis.
Yesterday, I ran across an article on the web that went viral a while back. It’s still a powerful piece because it speaks to something we will all experience – death and the regrets many people have as they face dying.
As I read the list of regrets, I realized I wanted to make some changes in my life. I want to focus more on things that support living a fulfilled life and slide into the home plate of life worn out but happy knowing I’d done what matters.
What about you? Do you ask yourself questions like, “Why am I doing this?” or “Where are all my friends these days? I haven’t heard from anyone in ages?” Or maybe even, “Am I living an honest and authentic life?”
Here are the top 5 regrets people have and thoughts on digging into your life so that these aren’t your regrets too!
1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
This is the most common regret dying people have, will it be one of your’s?
If you’re an out LGBT woman, at one point in time, you took a giant step of courage and decided you had to be true to yourself. Congrats to you!!
Some of you come to this point later in life and some of you are struggling right now with this decision. How far do you go? Who do you tell? Why? What will happen?
I want to encourage you to take some time, imagine being on your death bed. What life do you want to have lived? Whose life do you want to have lived? Your own or someone else’s?
If you’re out, are you living true to yourself? Do you honestly express who you are?
Are you going after your dreams? Do you set goals, have a bucket list you’re working on and kick the box that is your life?
Don’t die with your music in you! Get out and be the one singularly outrageous and amazing woman you are meant to be. Let the world see you shine.
2. I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.
Here’s one that I’m guilty of right now. I work a lot. Often 7 days a week. It seems that’s what it takes to get a struggling business off the ground.
I miss events, miss friends and miss my grown-up kids who I don’t see often. There’s a pace and intensity to being on the road doing a series of workshops over the summer that requires a lot of focus and work.
Most days I reconcile this with knowing that during other times of the year, I get to relax and kick back for a few weeks at a time.
This year, my work has given me the chance to do many things I love and expand my adventures and networks in new ways. That never seems like work.
Now as lesbians, we have the same choices to make that perhaps our fathers did years ago.
Do you work too much? Not play enough? Are you a lucky lady whose been able to create an income out of your passion? Are you working so hard you never see your partner? Or do you make time for the important people in your life?
In the end, when we realize all the stuff in the world isn’t what life is about, when we are out of the rat race for success as someone else defines it, what do you want to have? People in your world that love you? Or more stuff? Titles? Toys? I say go for the love!
3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
You have no idea how many women I talk to who are afraid to express their feelings.
We are here to feel! And express those feelings. I’m talking about telling the people you love that you love them. Telling people you don’t like something, won’t support it, want out of a relationship, aren’t happy, are happy and so much more.
For some of you, expressing your feelings may mean having the courage to tell someone NO! Or to say “Stop!” or “No More” or “I’m leaving.” Or maybe to say, “I’m interesting in getting to know you. How about a date this weekend?” What do you need to say to someone?
When we swallow our strongest emotions because we are afraid to hurt someone or afraid of the consequences which we imagine will be earth shattering, we make ourselves miserable, sick and very unhappy.
Expressing your feelings is why you have words, a mouth and a head and heart. It’s part of your purpose in being here. To feel things and to share those feelings!
This regret is like #1 but with a different twist. Some of you are good at living your life in the open but really suck when it comes to expressing how you feel, like asking a woman out!
You don’t ask, instead you worry and make up terrible stories in your head about what could go wrong. You get caught up in the story that “she might say no!”
Then there’s the relationship you won’t end. You don’t love her. You’re unhappy. You’re sticking with it because you don’t want to hurt her feelings. There’s no courage in that! No life lived with integrity and honesty. And in truth, each day that you show up lying about how you feel, you are already hurting her feelings and her.
Honesty can be like surgery. It’s painful but it cuts to the core of what’s wrong, pulls it out and then healing can begin.
Sometimes we need courage to live our truth because someone will be hurt – for a while not forever.
Holding strong feelings inside your body is now known to create disease. Dis-ease! If you’re playing small simply so you won’t rock the boat, you will regret it. A lot.
4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
When you live a busy life the way it’s expected here in the US, you don’t see friends, often for years and then the chance to see them is gone.
I’ve experienced two deaths in my family in the last 18 months. My older brother died in October of 2012 and my father passed away last month. I’ve lost friends over the years also.
Sometimes you have lots of warning that someone is dying and sometimes you don’t.
Here’s the point, for many of us there are only a few truly special people that come into our lives who we call friends and really mean it.
Deep, abiding bonds with individuals who where important parts of our lives. Are you keeping those alive? Are you staying in touch? Between email, texting, Facebook and other social media outlets, keeping in touch has gotten easier than it was for my father’s generation. But electronic connections don’t always go very deep, it takes more!
So are you doing that? Have you thought about who you want to stay in touch with and come up with a plan to connect regularly?
Now that I have developed friendships in multiple states, I really appreciate the private message feature on Facebook. It let’s me connect with friends around the globe.
Will this still work when I’m 90 years old? I sure hope so!
But texting and email isn’t really connecting. I feel connected and get that “feel!” connected, when I’ve been able to talk to someone I love and who loves me back. It’s the talking, hearing my friend’s voice, the tone, pace and inflections of their speech.
The deepest connections come when you go to the effort to spend time together, share a meal or two and watch the sunset or rise with each other. That’s where deep abiding connection happens.
This is the one I’m focusing on going forward. Making the effort to stay in touch even when I’m on the road and while I’m on the road, breaking bread with people I love and miss.
Who do you need to connect with? What can you do right now to create that connection?
5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.
Do you need to throw off being so serious? Do you need to laugh more? Do you pretend to be happy so other’s won’t be disappointed? Do you want to do something different with your life but you’re scared?
Happiness is an inside job, you get that right?
It’s about the decisions you make to live honestly, openly and courageously and then the actions you take. And it’s about allowing yourself to play, to take time away from the seriousness of living and to laugh.
I’m way too serious much of the time and I know I need people around me who help me lighten up and laugh about life.
My previous girlfriend had this talent. She appreciated silliness and it was something I appreciated about her. And I have friends who make me laugh and remind me to lighten up!
Being happy is the result of lots of small and big choices you make. Get on it. Don’t let this be one of your regrets.
A well lived life isn’t about how many toys you have at the end. It’s about courage, honesty, love and connection and living on the outside what’s really on your insides.
Stop holding back.
Pay attention to who and what really matters.
Live with no regrets.
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Till next time, sending you love!