Let’s face it — we’ve all said and done things that we wish we could take back. Of course, the reality is that we can’t turn back time. Ever. And while this may lead to feelings of regret, we can’t let that be a stumbling block to our happiness.
Words and actions that lead to feelings of regret can, if we allow them, become experiences that give us greater clarity about the life we do want. From that acknowledgement, positive shift and — gasp — even happiness can evolve!
In my mental scrap book of blunders, my biggest muck ups have been losing my temper with my kids and saying things I wished I’d not said. One time I was so mad at one of my sons that I flushed his candy down the toilet. Bad mommy, right?
I could let those memories make me feel like a complete and total failure as a mother but that’s silly. Instead of focusing on my imperfections, I can focus on the kind of parent I do want to be and think about how I will handle a similar situation differently next time.
There’s more good that can come from my mistakes. As an imperfect parent, I can demonstrate to my kids what humility looks like. I can demonstrate my recognition that I could have chosen different words or actions that might have led to a better result. More importantly, I can demonstrate the art of genuinely asking for forgiveness.
While I do feel badly about my moments of imperfection, I know the intentions in my heart are pure. In spite of my imperfections, I am truly dedicated to my children. I love each of them in their own right so fully that my heart wants to burst open with the thought of it. As a parent, I want them to live their most authentic, self-empowered and abundant lives. I can contribute to that success by teaching them essential character traits such as honesty, integrity, kindness, good judgement, respect, responsibility, resilience and courage. I work hard to model these and other core character traits within a framework of love and support.
That’s a lot to feel good about.
Truth is, my kids aren’t perfect either. And when they mess up, I’m there encouraging them to pick themselves up, look for the learnings, make things as right as possible and keep on trucking toward the life they want — toward their own personal happiness.
The bottom line is that happiness is about choice. It’s up to us to choose what to focus on — the gap or the potential; the mistake or the learning. Alexander Graham Bell once said, “When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.”
Happiness is choosing to accept our imperfections, releasing our regrets and setting our goals on the life we really want. So, dig deep for your courage, put on your boots of resilience and start trucking!