Eye-Opening Moments are real-life stories of adversity, encounters, and perspectives intertwined. In this episode you will hear about How to Have No Regrets and The Closed Door That Opened.Support the show
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Hello and welcome to episode #70 of Eye-Opening Moments where you’ll hear real-life stories of adversity, encounters, and perspectives intertwined. They are moments that can lift your spirits, give you some food for thought, or move you. For the introspective mind that likes to reflect, discover, and find solutions or meaning in a complex life, this is for you. I’m your host Emily Kay Tan. In this episode, you will hear about How to Have No Regrets and The Closed Door that Opened.
How to Have No Regrets
You did it, and you wish you didn’t do it. That’s one kind of regret. You didn’t do it, and you wish you did it. That’s another kind of regret. Which sort of regret could be worse? Do regrets necessarily need to be a negative thing? Listen to these happenstances, and you be the judge.
I did it, and I wish I didn’t do it. However, I would later change my stance about it all.
I regret having a relationship with Devin because he cheated on me and broke many promises. I knew Devin had a history of cheating on his girlfriends; I hoped I could change all that, but I didn’t. He promised me his faithfulness. He promised marriage to me. They were all meaningless words because he didn’t follow through on them. He had no integrity.
Despite all the bad, there were many good things about Devin. It was easy to get along with him, and we hardly ever fought. He enjoyed talking about thought-provoking topics related to human nature, and I liked chatting about it, too. We had a lot of chemistry and enjoyed each other’s company.
Though he broke many promises, was habitually late, and cheated on me, I can’t say I regretted being with him altogether. We had many good times until he cheated on me. How can I shift from regret to no regret?
Since Devin cheated on me, I learned I should have paid more attention to the warning sign and acted on it. He told me he cheated on a previous girlfriend. It made me suspicious of him, and I didn’t wholly trust him. My mistake was to continue in the relationship. But since I did, I have learned that I must take action when I see a warning sign.
The break up with Devin was most detrimental for me, and I screamed how I regretted ever knowing him. But because of the break up, I learned to do something I have found most challenging to do; it is forgiveness. It took me ten years, but I finally forgave him. I moved forward to forgive others, too. I only needed to stop punishing myself and declare that I forgive. I’ve learned that making someone wrong, even if they are wrong, does not serve you; it hurts you. So, I have begun forgiving myself more often. After all, who likes to punish themselves?
Because I enjoyed the good times with Devin and learned lessons from the bad things, I moved from regret to no regret.
I regret marrying Anson because he was anal and had an explosive temper. Living with him was like walking on eggshells. I am a peace-loving kind of person and do not like to argue. I don’t need others to agree with my views, nor do I need to persuade anyone about my perspectives. Anson, on the other hand, was the opposite. We were not the best match. He was not my best friend, and I wanted one in a husband.
Of course, Anson had some positive qualities, like being a handyman, a planner, and a cleaner. We kept a clean and tidy house and organized to run errands efficiently. We got along well this way. Anson was a gentleman with opening the doors and carrying groceries. He was a family man who put family before career. I always called him good husband material. But not everything was perfect.
Because Anson was like a resume that looked good, and I chose to marry him using my head instead of my heart, I can’t say that I regret marrying him altogether. I knew why I married him. Anson enjoyed engaging in an argument to demonstrate his self-righteousness. The length he went to prove his point, two hours in each rage, showed how strongly he believed in being right. I learned that demanding others to agree with your stances was not worth it. Everybody has a right to their own opinions. I told Anson if he continued to assert his self-righteousness, it would make me love him less and less.
Anson continued with being Mr. Right. The price he paid was losing me and any love I had for him; that was his choice. Being right was more important to him than our relationship. From Anson, I learned that fighting to claim you are right with anyone is not worth it. Accepting differences and accepting others is more important than making others agree with you. When you don’t do so, you pay a high price, like Anson losing the marriage in the end. It was a valuable lesson learned from Anson, so I can’t say I regret marrying him anymore.
Because I did have some good times with Anson and learned some lessons from him, I transferred from regret to no regret. I did it, and I wish I didn’t do it, but I have no regrets because I learned invaluable lessons. To have no regrets about something you did is to learn lessons from them and move forward with more giant strides.
I didn’t do it, and I wish I had done it. You can change this kind of regret to no regret. Like Nike’s motto, “Just do it,” and have no regrets.
I will always remember seeing my middle-aged father sitting at the table, looking at three of his daughters, including me. He said, “You all look different.” This scene was sad and eye-opening for me. For over twenty years, he hadn’t noticed that his daughters grew up to be individual and unique from each other. If he had any regrets and wanted to change them, he couldn’t because we can’t go back in time. I didn’t want to make the same mistake as Dad and not be able to stop the regret.
I didn’t do it, and I wish I had done it. I don’t like this kind of regret. Since I don’t like it and don’t want to repeat Dad’s mistake, I consciously try to do what I wish. In other words, if I want to do it, I need to do it. By doing so, there is no wondering left. There is no place to be in limbo. Wondering about all the what-ifs is torture! Stop the self-inflicted pain, I say!
I wanted to go into business full-time and didn’t do it for two years because of the enormous risk I would take. If I didn’t do it, I would always wonder. So, I did it to relieve myself from the pain of not knowing. I quit my safe and secure job to go into business full-time. Though I didn’t make much money, I had an adventure of a lifetime, and there was no more wondering what it would be like to be in business. Because I did it, the regret of not doing it shifted to no regrets!
I always wanted to go skydiving and never found anyone to go with me. If I never went, it would be a regret called I wish I did it but didn’t do it. The desire to go never left me. Fortunately, I overheard a conversation about a small group of people going and invited myself to go along. With my dream realized, I have no regrets.
I wanted to go to Bhutan for a spiritual journey and be in the land of happiness. This trip would not be easy or cheap. It could stay on my bucket list, but I would be left yearning forever. I decided to take the trip. I found peace and happiness and have no more regrets about this!
I wanted to travel the world and not wait until retirement before I started doing it. I stopped the excuses and began traveling all over Asia first. I didn’t want to be old and sit on my rocking chair, regretting having not done something I wanted to do. Wishing I did it and not doing it was no longer acceptable in my book of living life.
Having no regrets is a joyous life. When I regret doing something, I can learn a lesson and eliminate the regret. When I wish I did something and regret not doing it, I can do it and stamp out the regret. I refuse to be the character sitting on a rocking chair, wishing I did something I wanted and didn’t do it. I object to regrets where I don’t find the lessons in them. In the end, I will have no regrets and know I have lived a full life. Please make a choice; choose to have no regrets.
The Closed Door That Opened
She closed the door when she was only five years old. Once she shut it, she enclosed herself in walls that separated her from feeling love and worthiness. She built invisible walls that kept people at arms-length. She didn't want to get hurt or feel the pain. If anybody ever loved her, she wouldn't believe it. It didn't matter what they did or what they said. She would reject them just like her mother rejected her. She felt unloved and unwanted by her mom. Why? Her mom tossed her to live with Grandma Betsy when she was one, and then she tossed her over to live with Grandma Sandy in another state when she was five.
Living in Grandma Sandy's household, she also lived with her uncles and aunties. Her uncles told her she didn't belong there and was there because her parents didn't want her. That further reinforced to her that she was unwanted and unloved.
Feeling outcasted, she often kept to herself. With her head down and arms hanging forward but towards the middle of her body, she turned inward and withdrew. She always had a frown on her face. No one ever wondered or asked why. No one knew her pain. No one ever considered that the little girl was traumatized when Mom tossed her out. Mom seldom visited her daughter when she was at Grandma Sandy’s house. When Mom did visit, she hardly spent time with her little girl. She spent most of her time with her siblings and parents or going out without her. Mom wasn't in town most of the time, but she would call her mother weekly and chat up a storm on the phone. They seemed to have a good relationship. When the little girl asked for the phone to talk to her mother, her grandma only gave her a few seconds to say "Hi."
The little girl wanted her mother so badly. Her mother didn't make an effort or give her the time of day. Mom didn't even talk with her child for a few minutes on the phone. The little girl would try to grab the phone, but Grandma Sandy wouldn't give it to her and called her a nuisance. Though the little girl tried to connect with her mom when her mom called Grandma, Grandma usually wouldn't give the phone to her. When she did, it would be, at most, a few seconds. And her mom never asked to talk to her little girl either. Nobody seemed ever to consider that a little girl might want her mother's love.
By the time she became a teenager, Grandma Sandy had decided that the little girl, who was now a teenager, should go home and be with her family, who were enjoying a middle-class life. Grandma Sandy said that years ago, Mom was very poor, but Grandma was poor, too. That couldn't have been a reason to be tossed because Mom had other kids and didn't throw them away early on like the little girl.
I have been saying "she" because it has been too painful to say "I." I am the little girl who shut the door on love and worthiness. I didn't know any better; I took cues from Mom. I thought she didn't want me because she had given me away. Because she gave me away, I thought I was trash, and garbage is not something worthy. Feeling worthless, I also felt unworthy of love. The pain of feeling unworthy kept the door closed; it was damaging to my self-esteem.
Back with her family as a teenager, Emily felt like she didn't belong with her biological family. She felt more love and care from Grandma Sandy. Granted a chance to bond with Emily, Mom did not seize the opportunity. If she knew Emily was not happy, she would supposedly buy her something to fix everything. She never talked much with her or did much with her alone. Emily had longed to connect with her mom, but it didn't seem like her mom cared to bond with her. One of Emily's sisters seemed to have the best explanation. She said Mom got married at sixteen, so she didn't know how to be a mother and never learned how because she wasn't all grown up.
After two years of living with Mom, Dad, and her siblings, Emily decided the misery of feeling unloved was too much to bear. She asked to go back to live with Grandma Sandy. At least Grandma cared about her and gave her love. The heartless connection with Mom was too disheartening. Emily knew that the house she was living in with her parents gave her no love. It was hopeless.
Mom had many opportunities to bond with Emily, but she didn't. She hardly talked to Emily as a child when she was living with Grandma Sandy. Mom didn't connect with Emily even when she was in her house as a teenager. Emily lost hope.
Though Emily lost hope for love with her family, her face started smiling a year before going back to live with Grandma Sandy. She got a pen pal. She shared many things with her pen pal, and her heart began to open a little.
When Emily returned to live with Grandma Sandy, she opened the door she had kept shut since age five. Her heart opened wide to Keith. For the first time in her life, Emily found someone with whom she could share anything. She freely shared her feelings and thoughts. For the first time, Emily felt someone was interested in who she was as a human being. She felt loved and wanted. Keith warmed her heart.
Soon Keith came to visit Emily since they were previously physically living in different states. Love rushed in and pumped blood into Emily's life. Emily was alive and full of joy. She had opened the door that had been closed for at least twelve years. Blood flowed to all parts of her body, giving her energy and vitality; she trembled with joy. The little girl who was traumatized and heartbroken at age five was now a joyful and contented seventeen-year-old. Though she never got the love she wanted from her mom, she did have love and care from her grandma and another kind of love from Keith.
Keith's sensitivity and understanding of Emily's feelings gave her comfort. His encouraging words gave her the strength to move forward. His words of wisdom energized her with new ideas. Keith's flirtatious comments tickled her; his sweet words melted her heart. Keith became her best friend and the love of her life. He helped her open her door. The once closed door was full of misery and coldness, but it disappeared to love and warmth once opened.
I thank Keith for opening my heart and bringing love into my life. I thank Keith for seeing me and hearing my voice. Keith remains close to my heart with a permanent seat.
Though I regretted doing some things, I learned lessons. Though I regretted not doing things I wished I did, I moved on to do what I wanted to do.
Though my door was closed to any love at an early age, it did open when I fell in love at age seventeen.
Next week, you will hear two new real-life stories called The Meaning of Success Found and The Impact of a Stranger. If you enjoyed this episode of Eye-Opening Moments, please share it with others, subscribe, support the show by clicking on the link in the description, or go to www.inspiremereads.com and leave a message. Thank you for listening!