One of the struggles of faith for me is letting go of my past failures. Regret and remorse seem to be my default emotions. Frequently my mind wanders into the vault of past mistakes and lingers there as it flips through the files of my shortcomings. Unfortunately, there are numerous stories to remember. There is that time I said this, and that time I did that which fill my brain.
It is incredible to me that with all my regrets some actions never leave any residue of negative emotion. Personally, I never regret …
1. Saying a Kind Word. Those moments when I thought I should compliment or encourage someone is never a wrong decision. I think one positive practice in our life would be to speak one word of kindness to every person we encounter each day. If you don’t have the opportunity to say it, then text it, email it, Instagram it or snapchat it. Find a way to build people up with your words.
2. Showing Appreciation. This is letting people know how much their words and actions mean to you. I know how much it means to me when someone stops to say “Thank You” for anything. This helps people to understand that their work is noticed and their actions are making a difference.
3. Doing a Kind Action. When I find myself in a place to help someone, I never feel sorry for doing it, no matter how inconvenient. Helping someone has a built-in reward of good feelings. Sure, at the moment it might be a hassle, but once the task is complete, there is a sense in which you know you have done something meaningful.
4. Being Present. As an introvert, I struggle with this one. There are times in life when the best thing to do is show up. That visit to someone who is sick or in the hospital is always a blessing. Stopping to see those elderly folks is generally a joy in disguise. Attending a ball game of a young person is a special gift, even if they do not say it. There is nothing like being there for someone.
5. Praying. Whenever a special need comes across my desk, I try to take a moment to pray. If I am busy, I try to put it on my list of daily prayers. Now, I never entirely know what those prayers do for the person. I am not sure how God will work in their life, but I know it makes me feel more connected to God and that person just by saying a few lines of supplication.
Wouldn’t it be great if every day were full of positive events like these more than those negative regrets? The only way that will happen is if we purposely remind ourselves of the need for unregrettable behavior every day. To say to ourselves inside our souls, “Today I am going to do and say things I will not regret.” Whenever I am tempted to good, I will respond in a way that will bring me joy in the future instead of sadness.