What do you regret you DID NOT DO?  Research shows that on our death bed we are not mourning what we did, but rather what we did not do.

One example of regret I come across often in my work is with couples.

Never is regret more intense and impactful as in relationships.


The bottom-line reason for most of these regretful situations is withholding.  Holding back on communicating, loving, appreciating, understanding, seeking and receiving.


When I ask about the intention or desire to do these things, invariably couples say, “that’s what I wanted to do, I don’t know why I didn’t do/say it.”

They withheld their authentic self.


Where does this come from?

What are we waiting for?


Often we have not even admitted to ourselves, let alone expressed to our beloved, our unmet desires, expectations, and needs.

What expectations have been unexpressed?  Unexamined?

Continually Reality Check yourself and what you mean to say or do.

Then do it!

Express yourself!

Speak and behave your truth.

What are you waiting for?


Be real about who you are.  What you need and want – to give and to receive.  By not sharing the truth of yourself, you are putting your self worth into someone else’s hands.  If someone disappoints you (does not meet your expectations), this is an opportunity to connect on a deeper level by being open and vulnerable about what you need.

If something is very important and necessary – a deal breaker – don’t hold back!  Shout it to the rafters, repeat yourself, revisit it – daily if you have to.

Don’t let yourself or the relationship down by holding back.  Or there will be regrets.

Do you have regrets?

What fatal flaw was at the heart of this regret?

Have you rectified this problem?

What is your greatest regret?

What is your most cherished near miss that never became a regret… because you dug deep at that critical moment?


Closely related to regret is nostalgia.  A yearning for a time or place that is faraway or gone now.

Is there a time in your life you yearn to reconnect with?

What are the unique elements of that time that pull at your heart and mind?

What do you wish for/pine for/seek and do not find – ache for in the pit of your being?

I yearn to reconnect with…

I have some very old memories from toddlerhood.  They both involve grandparents.

In one, I had been stung by a bee.  I was proud, so I held in my tears until I found my Nanny.  She picked me up and called my Grandpa.  They set about sitting me in a tub of tomato juice and making a salve with baking soda.

The part I long for is when they powdered my bottom, wrapped me in a blanket and laid me in a crib with a warm bottle of milk.  I watched the mottled shadows from the maple tree and the dappling sun, listening to the soft brushing of leaves rustling in the breeze.


Another strong memory is nestling into the warm chest of my Dad and then my Grandpa – being shared.  Hearing the gentle drone of the heartbeat amidst the iconic melody of Hockey Night in Canada.

The smell of sweet tobacco pipe, the feeling of velour against my cheek.

Safety and Security.

Comfort and Familiarity.

All the things we regret if we miss opportunities to dwell in these beautiful spaces life offers us as gifts.

Longing is all about wanting to return to the Source/God/Home.

It is beautifully described in the book “Bittersweet”, by Susan Cain.

“Longing is the gateway to Belonging.”

Kathlyn McHugh RCC, RSW Counselling Practice takes place at the Vitality Clinic in the West Shore Area, close to Victoria BC.

Visit the website at: Home – The Vitality Clinic