Minimize Both Regrets And Remorse
Regrets concern things you wish you had done, and didn't.... 
Remorse applies to things that you did and are sorry you did.

I have great respect for my wife who spent quality time with her grandmother during the later's declining years. When the grandmother died, my wife had no regrets for not having done something with her that she had always meant to do.

Regrets can be generated by not making a career move that involved risk, or not pursuing a relationship you wanted, or not finishing school. There are lots of chances to have regrets.

I have done pretty well in implementing this guideline. If it crosses my mind that I would really regret not having done something for someone if they were not around any more, I do it immediately. To put it another way I stay complete with the people in my life so I can minimize regrets.

Remorse is more difficult because it involves NOT doing something that seems like a good idea at the time, but that later on I would feel remorseful if I did it ... Many of these involve ethical or moral transgressions ... To stay comfortable with yourself, don't do those things. What more can I say? .. In raising my children I was an overly harsh disciplinarian. I have suffered remorse over half the spankings (the others served a useful purpose)..I attempted to cheat on a college exam once and got away with it I have remorse over that both in absolute terms, and in ruining my perfect record of never having cheated.

Minimize regrets and remorse to keep the past from running your life.

©  2002 John D. Toellner, All Rights Reserved