“Do you regret it?”, I’ve been asked numerous times. The answer is never clear, and sometimes it depends on my mood. One hopes to give a definitive “No” if we pay any attention to the cliché sayings of living a life without regrets, but that isn’t always the case. Because you’ll eventually come to learn that very few things in life are black and white. So, do I regret it? If I’m being perfectly honest, yes, I do, but only sometimes.
I’m talking about not listening to your gut, your instinct, your intuition. Now, in retrospect, all of the red flags were there, but I was not paying attention. We’ve all been there; we go through a difficult time and pray, hope and plead to receive a sign. But are you really paying attention? And better yet, are you ready to receive the answer?
It is a difficult phenomenon to describe, but it goes a little something like this: there you are, living your life, minding your own damn business. Then, you start to get this eerie feeling. And not in a doom-and-gloom sense, necessarily, but a feeling of being unsettled or uneasy. “Something just isn’t right”, you think to yourself. In my personal experience, it’s a slow and steady build-up. Others may have the gift of sensing “bad vibes” immediately. Either way, you know that something is wrong and you are propelled into seeking answers. Which brings me back to the question, “Are you ready to receive them?”.
I was not. I was living in this comfortable place called Denial and Fear Street. And I became the Mayor. Did I know something was off? Absolutely. For YEARS, no less. What did I do about it? What a lot of women do; justify, blame myself, forgive and sweep it under the rug. And if you’re curious as to how it turned out, well, not great. Not great at all. Because not only was my intuition onto something, those red flags were massive truth bombs. I could have spared myself years of pain, and that’s what I regret. I was too afraid of the unknown, of what I may lose and of facing the truth. Was I ready to leave a 10-year relationship? Was I really willing to become a childless divorcée in her 30’s? I’m too old to start over! What about the dog? And so on and so forth… But sooner or later, the truth will reveal itself, and when you’ve chosen to ignore the signs, learning the truth can jolt you to your very core. On the other hand, perhaps you are not quite ready to open your eyes. Maybe the universe/God/whatever higher power to which you connect, has more to teach you before you are ready for this truth bomb. And that’s the part that I don’t, or can’t, regret. I was simply not ready.
In this era of wellness and self-improvement, it may be à la mode to take a look at how we can ease into being more open to this experience. Undeniably, there cannot be a formula that applies to every situation. However, perhaps if we begin to re-evaluate this fear of the unknown, we may become more open to receiving the answers we’re seeking. Here are a few questions you may begin to ask yourself:
- What am I afraid of?
- What will I lose if XYZ happens?
- If I lose those things, what will become of me?
- Is my self-worth attached to said “things” I’m afraid of losing?
- Do I have friends and family who will love and support me unconditionally?
- Do these friends and family members value my worth based on the “things” I may lose?
If you’ve answered “No” to the last question, you’ll likely be alright. In the end, we not only want to maintain a sense of stasis for ourselves, but we also want to feel that we are loved no matter what. I came to learn that what I had feared wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought. As it turns out, being in a deeply unhappy relationship was the nightmare itself, not getting a divorce. And although the aftermath was difficult to navigate, I found myself being washed over by a sense of relief in finding answers, and being able to move on with my life. My friends and family were such a source of strength and light, that I was able to power through it all.
So go ahead, ask the questions. Dip your toes into the discomfort zone for just a little bit at a time. It doesn’t mean you have to act on it right away, but at least you’ll ignite a little fire that will lead you to getting those answers. And when you’re ready, you’ll take the steps to making yourself the priority. It is your life after all, let’s not waste it being afraid.
Callie is an Ottawa-native and proud dog-mommy. She enjoys yoga, wellness and anything 90’s.