To avoid regrets

Life can be complicated, joyful, sorrowful, depressing & ecstatic. Sometimes, we experience these emotions in the space of a few hours as events intervene. We have little control over events such as accidents & illnesses that can negatively impact our lives and the ones we love. One thing we do have some control over, is having a sense of regret about wasted time and energy. Regret is one of the most common emotions that we hear in mediation. It’s not just confined to families, it can apply to workplace mediation also.

If there’s a piece of advice I’d give to reduce regret, it’s this:

  1. Try to treat people with respect.
  2. Don’t waste your time on people who don’t treat you with respect.

These points seem too simple at times and too arduous to follow at others. We ask ourselves, “how can I leave this person?” or “how can I leave this job?” while forgetting that life will go on and could even get better 🙂

From experience of dealing with hundreds of disputes, I think that breaking these rules is a false economy so long as you attempt to improve a bad relationship first. Abusive relationships tend to get worse rather than better and a bad organisational culture is unlikely to spontaneously fix itself. Ask yourself are you being optimistic or wilfully procrastinating when you need to get out of a bad situation to protect your sanity & well being?

In any event, the regrets that people have are ones borne of many years hoping a situation or person would improve. I haven’t always followed this advice and that’s one of the few regrets I have.