After a quarter century of clinical work and research with highly distressed families, I regard my practice as the business of preventing regret.
What people tend to regret the most near the end of their lives is that they have not been more compassionate, loving, and supportive to those they love.
A presage of this kind of regret comes with the untimely death of a loved one. The common self-doubt, even in relationships that were very close and loving, is something like:
“Did she really know how much I loved her?”
“Did I make him feel how important he was to me?”
The first step toward avoiding the ultimate regret is to answer the following questions.
1. What is the most important thing about you as a person?
2. What do you want those you love to think about you?
3. How do you want your loved ones to feel about you?
4. What kind of relationships do you want your children to have in school, in work, in love?
5. Are you modeling for your children the relationships you want them to have?
6. What would your life mean to you if you lost your family?
7. Near the end of your life, what might you regret the most?