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Techniques for a Wiser Life

Regret-Free Living Owens Interview Part 3

Thanks to Jennifer and Tim Owens for this terrific interview!

I hope you’ve been enjoying the series on Regret-Free Living. If you’ve missed any of the articles, here are the links:

In part 1, I told a story about creating enjoyment and avoiding resentment.

In part 2, I shared a secret advertisers use called Priming, which can help us when we’re overloaded with options.

In part 3, I suggested journaling and negative reinforcement for escaping blank, uninspired periods.

In part 4, I posted the first of a 3-part interview with social worker / self-care guru Jennifer Owens and her husband, behavioral health counselor Tim Owens.

Here’s the rest of the interview.

Kristi: What are some signs we can recognize in ourselves, that we’re on the verge of creating more regret or that we have some unforgiveness? Let me give some examples. I know me, so I can notice that I’m on the verge of creating regret when I’m feeling tired and stressed. I might be tempted to overeat. If I’m feeling a hormonal swing, I might be tempted to behave in a way that I’m ashamed of later, that isn’t the person I want to be, that’s caused me some trouble in relationships. Over the years, I’ve gotten better and better, because I keep trying. Better and better at remembering who am I and who I want to be. Am I perfect? No, are we going to be perfect before we’re done with these bodies? No. God’s going to grow us every day. But I’ve learned to differentiate who I am and how I feel.

Jennifer has a self-care course called The Rhythm-Conscious Life. Tell us about that, please.

Jennifer: Thank you. The course helps you to recognize the things you need to get out of the place of condemnation. If you beat yourself up a lot, or you’re not very kind to yourself, a lot of times you’re not living regret-absent. You tend to not give yourself any grace. You’re not very mindful. When we go through suffering or when we go through something that’s negative or bad or traumatic, we tend to get down on ourselves, because we feel all alone. A lot of times we go into further isolation, but we need to know it’s a normal part of living, to go through negative things. If you’re able to affirm yourself in that place, if you can talk to someone or vent, express gratitude despite what you’re going through, that will take you out of feelings of regret.

Kristi: Jennifer’s course helps you recognize what feelings you’re feeling and recognize ways you can move yourself forward.

Jennifer: Yeah, to nurture yourself.

Kristi:  Jenn, I like what you said about gratitude. Tim, you were talking about that earlier. Tell us about gratitude. Why does it make a difference?

Tim: Gratitude is a superpower. I can tap into my attitude of gratitude, so no matter what happens in my life, I can deal with it. I know God’s got my back, and I am grateful for all He allows to come into my life.

Kristi: There’s a theory, and I totally believe it, that when we’re grateful, more good comes to us. I believe it because:

  • People don’t want to be around a grouch. We need to be able to call somebody up and go, “Pray for me. This isn’t going right.” But at the same time, we need to be able to go, “I have good in my life, and I know good will come because it’s already here.” People want to be around that, and when you have people who care for you, you continue to be encouraged. You guys inspire me every day.
  • Also, when you’re grateful for what you have, you want to share it. When you want to share, all of a sudden God goes, “Oh! There’s a hand that’s going to give My gifts to other people.” He wants to keep filling that hand. As we give to other people–as long as we use good boundaries–we lose the shame and lose our focus on all the things we’ve done wrong, because we’re actually doing something right.

Jennifer: That’s called compassion, as we learn to give to ourselves and others, we recognize ourselves as a conduit. I emphasized the piece on suffering, because we can recognize that we’re suffering but there might be somebody else suffering too. I’ve always been of the position, even with the weirdest things I’ve gone through in life, that there was always somebody who understood, somebody out there who might have gone through the same thing at the same time. I think that understanding is God’s grace to us, but we don’t often recognize it. When we’re suffering we go into our little shells, we “turtle it,” so we don’t have to deal with the outside shame or guilt or expression of it.

Kristen Neff says:

May I give myself the compassion that I need

May I learn to accept myself as I am

May I forgive myself

May I be strong

May I be patient

When you can invoke those things in your life, it helps you to remember: I’m not being self-compassionate if I’m not doing those things.

Kristi: Wow! Thank you both for being here today. Tim, would you lead us out in prayer?

Tim: Father we thank You for this day, this opportunity to gather together and discuss Your concepts, Your precepts. Your word says, “Thy word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against Thee.” Psalm 119:11 KJV We just thank You for who You are in our lives. We thank You Father God that we’re in Your family. Help us to apply the things You teach. In Jesus’ Name, amen.

If you need prayer, please let me know. God adores you and has plans for you. He wants to teach you good things and bless you as you get to know your Creator.

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