If only _____, I could have been_____.
Looking back over our lives presents us with an array of opportunities to express regrets and to make excuses. Most of us would admit to occasionally looking back upon what could have been. However, obsessively looking back and second guessing ourselves can easily become self destructive.
Here is a sampling of thoughts we may have; things we could have done but didn’t.
1) If I had stayed in school and gotten my degree, I could have_____.
2) What if I had married ____ instead of marrying _____?
3) I should have been a ____ instead of being a ____.
Here, simply stated, is the reality we all must face. Having regrets about past actions taken or not taken changes nothing and is burdensome. In fact, frequently revisiting our regrets discounts what we have achieved and jeopardizes what we might yet achieve. We get very few do-over opportunities in life. We did what we did. Hallelujah!
In this film clip from the 1954 movie “On the Waterfront,” Marlon Brando expresses his keen disappointment about what could have been. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A_GGVDVrIcM