For everything you have missed, you have gained something else. And for everything you gain, you lose something else. It is about your outlook towards life. You can either regret or rejoice.
As life goes on and we go through more and more stuff in our lives, the overwhelming sense of things ending or of losing things or people, can test our outlook. We can start to feel that this dark cloud of regret and remorse is following us around. We notice things we haven’t done yet. We notice people we haven’t become. We notice places we haven’t visited. But what we may not realize is that this regret and remorse is almost like poison to our outlook on life. We are affecting the good things in our lives by taking in this poison.
If you look at this quote above, it may seem cliche. Oh sure, we all know that our perspective on life does make a difference but damn it, sometimes life just sucks. Bad stuff happens to us or to loved ones. We may not be achieving all we had hoped to by this point in our lives. We may not have travelled to the places we want to see. Maybe we don’t have the relationships in our lives we yearn for. But if we turn back the clock and look at our lives as a novel that is being crafted, and look at if from the first few chapters, we can see that whenever there is a loss, there is a gain. It may not happen right away, but inevitably it does happen. The opposite is true as well. When we have those times when we have gained, there has been a loss as well. Often times, in order for those gains or good times to happen, we had to lose or go through bad times first.
The way we frame this ebb and flow of life, will ultimately be responsible for our overall happiness. If we are constantly focusing on loss, we will never see the gains. If we are constantly focusing on regret and remorse, we will never notice our successes. If we are constantly focusing on things we don’t have, we will never appreciate all that we do. This last one is particularly true when it comes to our relationships. It can be easier sometimes to just write people off and out of our lives when they don’t conform to what we want them to be. We fail to see the joy they bring to us by just being themselves.
Like I said, I know all of this sounds cliche and may also seem too easy. Sometimes things are cliche because they are true. Sometimes things may seem easy, but are not. To reframe your outlook doesn’t necessarily mean that you are looking at life through rose coloured glasses either or not realistic. It merely means that you chose to notice. You are choosing to notice that good things happen all the time and sadly, we don’t see them. You are choosing to notice that there are good people in your life when sadly, we don’t realize just how much they mean to us. You are choosing to notice that even though there will be bad times, there will always good times too.
It may not be an easy process. It is in fact easier to live under the black cloud of regret and remorse as we teach ourselves to expect the worst so when it happens we are not surprised. I challenge you to think of one reason a day to rejoice in life. It could be that you love your job. Consider yourself lucky if you do, most people don’t. It could be you are in a good relationship. It could be your dog was happy to see you when you came home. Whatever you pick. Notice it. Don’t belittle it by ignoring how awesome it may be. Even if we can do it once a day, we will start to see those clouds part.