I have regrets. Big ones.
Those regrets have nothing to do with dreams I didn’t pursue. Or angry words I hurled at someone (I mean I have those too, but I don’t lump those into my big, big regrets).
I don’t do bad things. I like to think I’ve been a pretty upstanding woman most of my life. Listen, I’ve made mistakes I’m not proud of. But I’ve done my healing work around those. I’ve forgiven myself.
My biggest regrets are around work. I regret working so hard.
I regret saying no to trips back home because I felt guilty for taking time off.
I regret making myself sick over a boss who used to treat me like I was never good enough.
I regret missing all of my cousin’s weddings because I had to work.
I regret the sleepless nights over the years worrying about how the work would get done because there was too much work for one person and I didn’t know how to ask for help.
I regret saying yes to all the times my mind and body were screaming, “no”.
I regret not setting boundaries with work.
I regret continuing on in jobs that weren’t aligned with my soul and making me spiritually sick.
I regret looking for validation around my worth from a boss or colleague.
I regret the friendships I lost trying to be “nice”, or “liked” at work so I didn’t manage with the level of professionalism I should have.
I regret living in fear that if I let go of a job I hated, I wouldn’t find another one.
But you know what I regret the most? I really regret waiting years to write this piece, to give voice to the millions of men and women around the world who feel just as I do because I didn’t want to sound like a whiny, ungrateful sad sack around work. But you know what? Life is too short to give up so much of ourselves for a job.
I’m watching people around me get sick, get cancer, die fairly young. I have spent the past 25 years studying the mind/body connection and I know many of them are sick because of stress, chronic stress, holding onto behaviors, lifestyles and ways of being that don’t serve them. The only time, in fact I’ve ever taken time off from a job is after I got really sick.
It’s pathetic really. That we have to be laying in a hospital bed, or get diagnosed with some illness and put on bed rest or advised by a doctor to take time off of work to heal before we become willing to heal ourselves. We need to come to the brink of losing what’s most important to us, whether it be a marriage, relationships with our kids, our health and well-being, before we even consider setting boundaries in the workplace or just taking time off to repair those things.
Half my life is already over. I’ll be damned if I’ll continue on this way. I may need to go to those same dark places before I say, “Enough is enough…I need to make a change again,” but I won’t regret speaking up and giving voice to what you might also be going through. I’m here to tell you it’s OK.
It’s OK to take care of yourself. It’s OK to say, “I’m sorry, I can’t take on anymore.”
It’s OK to put in for time off and take a vacation.
It’s OK to not respond to emails and work during that planned time off.
It’s also OK to walk away from an employer or job that has those expectations of you. The ones who tell you that they value you and your health but then don’t respect the actions you take to do just that.
I regret my silence. I’m sorry that I was too scared to write about this sooner.
If you’ve stumbled upon this article, it’s not an accident. Spirit, God, whatever you believe in led you hear because there are no coincidences in life. You’re reading this because you need to hear it. Maybe you needed someone to tell you it’s OK to feel what you’re feeling.
I hope you’ll make different choices for yourself starting today. I want nothing more than for my own regrets to be your red flags that stop you from making the same mistakes I have. Self-care, setting boundaries, walking away from unhealthy and toxic situations that are no longer serving you is my greatest wish for everyone reading this.
I know I have some hard choices to make but writing this piece, that was the first step in taking the right one towards my own truth and sanity. Life is too short to have regrets.
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