Conversations with Jerry - self acceptance, life after death, and healing

I was talking with a man recently who’d been caring for his dying father.

"I left him to take care of some personal business,” he said. "I knew I shouldn’t have gone because something inside told me not to go. But I didn’t listen. My father died while I was gone."

Regret. The word originates from Old French— regreter, which means "bewail (the dead), feel sad, repentant, or disappointed over (something that has happened or been done, esp. a loss or missed opportunity."

"If only I’d been a better sister, brother, wife, husband, mother, father, daughter, son, or friend. . ."
"If only I’d said a, b or c."
"If only I hadn’t said a, b or c."

Get the picture?

Take a moment to think about a regret you have—something you did that you think you shouldn't have. Choose something meaningful and substantial. Get a clear image or sense of it. Now tune in to your thoughts. What do you tell yourself about it? And, how do your thoughts make you feel? Don't read on until you've completed this process, because I want to point something out.

As you thought about the regret, did you notice that your mind automatically assumed that things would have turned out better if you hadn't done whatever it was you did?

We assume an untruth when we're in the throes of regret: we assume that what we regret—the thing we shouldn't have done, but did—would have turned out better than the actual outcome. But how can we possibly know with certainty? We can’t.

Next time you catch yourself in regret, remember that you’re making a huge assumption. Truth be told, you don’t know how things would have turned out. Our minds, however, tend to idealize what isn’t in lieu of what is. "If only . . . " is the accompanying refrain.

Here are some conscious assumptions/affirmations that I make which you may find helpful, as well:

- Life is occurring in divine order regardless of my judgments about it: Facilitates me in owning and releasing my judgments so that I can embrace what is.

- Everything that happens is ultimately for my highest good: Reaffirms that I am living in a beneficent universe and allows me to explore why my soul would have chosen this experience, i.e., how might I have desired to grow from this?  

- I am 100% responsible for my own experience: Allows me to cease blaming so that, if I don't like what I'm feeling or experiencing, I can change. If you are blaming someone or something outside yourself for the way you feel, take back your power. You are the one—and the only one—with the power to change the way you feel.

- Every event provides an opportunity to grow spiritually: Facilitates me in looking for and discovering value and growth in the most challenging of circumstances. 

-I am free to choose my attitude and response in every moment: Reminds me that I have free will, which includes the power to choose my response to life, regardless of circumstance.

Our feelings are generated by our thoughts, and our thoughts are generated by our beliefs.  If you want to feel differently, you have to think differently and in order to think differently you have to challenge and change your beliefs. Releasing what no longer serves you—assumptions, limiting beliefs, conditioned patterns, misinterpretations and judgments—allows you to grow spiritually. And guess what?  When you change within, life has a way of showing up differently. Outer experience is a reflection of inner reality.
Now, I'm not advocating that you shouldn't grieve when a loved one transitions; quite to the contrary: if you're present to sadness, give yourself permission to cry all of your tears. But living with regret is unnecessary suffering.

I began this article by sharing about a man who’d been caring for his dying father.

"I left him to take care of some personal business,” he said. "I knew I shouldn’t have gone because something inside told me not to go. But I didn’t listen. My father died while I was gone."

I could hear the regret and guilt in the way his voice lowered and trailed off. Can you see how regret was showing up in the way I just described? In his mind things would have turned out better if he'd been there when his father transitioned. In his mind that's how it should have happened. But, I ask you: how can we possibly know that with certainty? We can't. It is this underlying assumption that keeps regret in place.

"It was wrong of me to have left. I should have been there for him."

“Let's take this out of the arena of right or wrong," I said. "From a spiritual perspective, we can't judge it because we don't know. What if, on some level—for your highest good and the highest good of all concerned—you both agreed to play it out this way? What might your soul want you to learn from the experience?”

He paused. “I guess my soul would want me to learn to listen to myself.”

“What a beautiful gift your father’s given you. Would you be willing to accept it, receive it and be thankful for it?
If I were a gambling person, I'd bet that’s what he'd want for you.”

“But he died alone.”

“I have a friend who was by herself when she transitioned. She told me, through a medium, that it was precisely the way she wanted it. Would you be willing to consider the possibility that it’s how your father may have wanted it, too?”

“That never occurred to me.”

"And although we all make the transition from physical to spiritual on our own, are we ever really alone? I don't think so."

The session continued a bit longer, but can you feel the energy start to free up?

The next time you find yourself deep in regret, remember to question your assumptions.No matter what you've done—or haven't—you are lovable and worthy . . . and all is well.
Feel free to contact me if you have questions or if I can be of further service:
Copyright © 2009 by Irene Kendig
Irene Kendig specializes in compassionate self-acceptance. Contact her at

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Comment by sari Gilfenbain on July 1, 2011 at 1:21pm
Wow! I am in awe of you, Irene! Your writing style is so personal that it drew me right in. Do I have regrets? You betcha! Thank you for showing me how to lift the load.
Comment by Holly Johnson on August 3, 2010 at 12:18pm
After spending some time thinking about this wonderful article....I would like to say that a 'regret' that I have carried with me with loved ones that have gone is, the....not clearing the air, making peace with issues, understanding their point of view, and the acknowledgement that they understood my point of view. I know I can talk up a storm to them now, and I know they hear me. But it is nothing like the exchange that we would do in the physical by looking into one anothers eyes and experiencing that profound 'knowing'......
Comment by Holly Johnson on August 2, 2010 at 8:25pm
Beautiful article Irene. A reflection of your heart! Thank you!
Comment by Irene Kendig on January 10, 2010 at 9:08pm
Thank you for taking the time to post your feedback, Nakhone. I am grateful that the article is shedding light on some of your assumptions. You deserve to be free of regret. Jana is a wonderful medium. I'll send you a website message with the info. All the best to you!
Comment by Nakhone Keodara on January 10, 2010 at 5:57pm
Thanks, Irene. I have several regrets that I'd been carrying concerning the death of the love of my life and my father and this article is shedding some light on my assumptions of what the outcome would be if I were to be present. I can't thank you enough for this message. I would like to speak to a medium. Can you point me in the right direction? Thanks.
Comment by Irene Kendig on September 6, 2009 at 2:25pm
Wonderful, Jennifer! Thank you for posting!
Comment by Jennifer King on September 6, 2009 at 1:46pm
Just what I needed to hear from you this morning. This changes the direction of my day to a more positive one. Thanks Irene!
Comment by stephen witmer on February 27, 2009 at 7:46am
fabulous article 5 stars

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