Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Regret The Past

The other night, in bed with my husband Ron, I said, “Did you see that thing your brother posted? I really liked it. It asked, ‘If you could go back in time to your 18-year-old self, what advice would you give yourself in 3 words?’”

Ron responded, “No. I didn’t see it. What would you say?”

I replied, “Stop smoking now. You?”

Ron stated, “Just enjoy it.” He followed his three words with this: “You know, I wouldn’t want to change a single thing. Everything connects. Everything has gotten me to where I am today. If you change one thing you change it all.”

His words were profound and got me thinking differently about my smoker’s remorse. What would have happened if I stopped smoking earlier or perhaps never started in the first place?

While the obvious benefits would be a lower risk for cancer and fewer dental problems, I realized that if I had chosen to stop smoking, I may never have:

Fallen in love with my husband: When I met Ron at 19 years young, I was instantly attracted to him. His tall lean frame, his auburn hair and the fact that he smoked were all sexy as hell. As a smoker, I loved men who smoked, and most non-smokers didn’t want to date “a girl like me”. If I had quit smoking, perhaps Ron wouldn’t have been so sexy to me. Perhaps I wouldn’t have wanted to date a smoker because he may have triggered me, and maybe Ron only wanted to date a smoker.

Gained strong empathy for addicts: While I’ve experimented with my fair share of drugs and alcohol, I never got addicted (Thank you, God!). But I know what addiction feels like due to smoking. I started when I was 13 years old and the habit quickly spiraled to the point where I couldn’t hold a conversation, focus or function without the inhale of a Marlboro Red. Because I know what addiction feels like, I’ve found success coaching and supporting those with addictive personalities. If I never smoked for so many years and never tried to quit so many times, perhaps I wouldn’t have the enormous amount of empathy that I do now for addicts of all kinds (food, sex, drugs).

Saved Ron and myself: After I got pregnant with our son Aaron, I was determined to quit smoking, but after I had him, it was an all-too-typical cycle: stop, start, stop, start again. Ron kept smoking which didn’t make the “stopping” part stick. We’d fight and it’d get ugly. I’d beg him to quit, to help me quit. One night during a nasty argument, we both got so mad with each other – my arms flailing and Ron going into silent mode – that we swore we’d both stop smoking to avoid the fights; to avoid getting divorced. And we did. We quit. Without the opportunity to reach a place of compromise and synergy with Ron, he might never have quit for good and perhaps I wouldn’t have either.  

While there are still pieces of me that wish I never smoked, I don’t regret it. I forgive myself for the experience. I’m thankful for the learning and growth it gave me. And I accept the lightness and the darkness of what is.

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Sincerely,

Danielle

PS – Here’s an affirmation to help you let go of regret: “I live in the present and look to the future.

PPS – To explore your regret, get out your journal. Here’s a writing prompt: Describe the life you would have now if something you regret never happened. How would it be different? How would it be the same?

Author: Danielle Clark

Dr. Danielle Clark is a witty heart-centered millennial. She wears many hats in this beautiful + crazy thing we call life. She is a proud wife, and cat, dog and human mama who works as a psychic medium, intuitive life coach, spiritual teacher and business professor. Dr. Danielle’s life work is focused on helping people heal from self-judgement, trauma and grief so that they can release their suffering and tap into the highest version of themselves. Danielle’s been blessed to do that for herself and that’s why she’s made it her mission to pass along her wisdom to others. Danielle is from just north of Boston. She currently lives in the Tampa Bay area. She believes with a little love, grace and humor anything is possible. She invites you to join her blog Onwards at drdanielleclark.com and to connect with her on social media.

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