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Looking Backward to See What May Be Ahead of You


One of the challenges with living is the ability to be able to look back upon our lives. For some of us, it’s an enjoyable activity. But for others, that glance in the rearview mirror of life can be a challenge because of a word we don’t often like to think about, but it can show up in sneaky ways.

Regret tries to sneak in and rob us of the joy of today; attempts to discourage our future dreams because of past mistakes; and attempts to seize our hearts with fear from moving forward and dreaming again. But, I want to offer a different perspective.

I am a life coach, right?

I don’t believe that you should downplay or aim to not feel regret or negative emotions associated with your past. I’m the coach who says feel what you feel and utilize the feeling, utilize the past, utilize the memory to move yourself forward and to make better decisions.

Here’s an example: For some, you may regret that you have not married and had a traditional family because you’re a certain age. Here’s how we reframe that experience.

Rather than regretting or lamenting about what we do not have, we can still feel the feelings – even if we feel discouraged by it – but here’s what I want you to do and here’s where the shift occurs.

Ask yourself a simple question.

What can I start now to either change that situation in my life or what can I do to choose differently to produce a better outcome?

As a coach, my job is to take you from the place of challenge, from the place of change, and from the place of being stuck, to move you forward and choose better in the future. It’s something that we don’t really like to talk about, but we all deal with the pain of regret.

We all deal with the pain of looking back and wondering, wishing even, we could have chosen better. But I think about the example of a scrambled egg. Once it’s scrambled, it cannot go back to the liquid yolk. So it is in life – you can’t go back and change your past, but you can sure purpose beginning now to make your future better.

I would say my message is simply for you to be encouraged. You still have time to rewrite your future, even though you cannot change your past. Use that regret as fuel to choose better.

Keisa Sharpe-Jefferson is a life coach, author and speaker. Her column appears each month online and in The Birmingham Times. You can contact Keisa at keisasharpe@yahoo.com and visit http://www.allsheanaturals.com for natural hair and body products.