Conquering Relentless Regret: Ditch the ‘If Onlys’

Conquering Relentless Regret: Ditch the ‘If Onlys’
Regret involves a trip back in time to an action, an event, or a decision that had life-altering and unwanted consequences. Each of us has our share of regrets. How we think about our individual regrets will either condemn or redeem us. What I’m about to share was a regret that I allowed to torture me for years. After my biopsy, there was a six-week waiting time to heal before my prostate surgery. I spent most of those six weeks wondering whether I was going to live long enough to see the beginning of a new year. I went on a prostate cancer forum and posed the following: “To Vacation or Not to Vacation, that is the question.” I considered taking time off from work in order to enjoy a romantic vacation with my wife. A man wrote back suggesting that I’d be too anxious to enjoy my vacation. He suggested I postpone the romantic vacation until after my surgery. This made perfect sense, so I followed his advice. The trip we took after my surgery was awful. I was suffering from urinary incontinence and erectile dysfunction. I was leaking urine so badly that I was changing my diaper 15 times a day. I was so depressed about the quality of my life, I spent the majority our “romantic vacation” wishing I’d died during surgery. I didn’t have a single romantic thought, or deed, occur during our entire time away. I began experiencing a profound loss and regret that I missed the opportunity to enjoy a romantic vacation with my wife when all of my body parts were functioning properly. Those days were gone forever. For the next four years, I kicked myself at least once a day, sometimes more. The phrase “if only” became my mantra. The phrase “if only” bound me to the past in a destructive way. There was no opportunity for a re-do. My sex life as
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