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Life Planning

When regret becomes gratitude


Kim Potgieter

Kim Potgieter

September 13, 2019
I love Spring! It’s my favourite time of year. The smells and sounds that Spring bring add a special flavour to my early morning runs. I’m not a particularly good runner but it’s so good for me. I still struggle after ten months, but who says we have to be good at everything we do? I love how I get to see the world wake up, and I love that it gives me quiet time; time to reflect and think and time to do a whole lot of introspection. And it’s a perfect body warm-up after my morning meditation.

I am doing a meditation series on gratitude at the moment, and this morning I thought about my late dad. I suppose it’s the package or running and meditation that made me think of him – he ran 21 comrades, so when I run, I somehow feel close and connected to him.

Today was a bit overwhelming. I reflected on my dad, and the shame and anxiety I felt as a young girl growing up in a family where money was used to control. If you’ve read my book and blogs before, you’ll know that I freely share my story with money. It’s hard to own up to the fact that I had such a dysfunctional family life and that my dad controlled us all with money.

This morning, I agonised whether my father would be furious with me for sharing our family story so publicly. As this internal conversation rumbled around in my head, an overpowering warm feeling enveloped me in love. It dawned on me that my dad would be supporting me all the way. With everything I know about our relationship with money today, I’m pretty sure that my dad’s mindset about money was created by his childhood experiences and the messages he heard while growing up. And this I know for sure, if it hadn’t been for my childhood, however distressing it may have been, I would not have been here today helping others with their relationship with money. My dad would be proud.

Do I regret my traumatic childhood and the shame, discomfort and embarrassment I felt as a young child and into early adulthood? How can I? Regret is a difficult emotion to process. We all have regrets. It is impossible to live without regret, and you certainly can never dismiss regret. But you have to own it and embrace it.

My biggest regret is all the years of anguish, trying to hide what was happening in our family, building a wall or armour around me to make everything appear normal, and believing that I was partly responsible for the fighting between my mom and dad. But it is precisely because of my journey and owning up to my story, that I’ve been able to do the real work: reflecting on my money memories and letting go of the money beliefs and habits that I did not want to take with me into adulthood.

So how do you turn regret into gratitude? You have to feel it, experience it and purposefully decide to learn and grow from it.

So yes, I am grateful. I am grateful to my dad; I am grateful for my learning and most of all, I am grateful to be helping other people put money in its proper place – as a tool for living a full and meaningful life.

Wishing you a Spring filled with gratitude over regret! And remember, when it comes to your money, be inspired, be brave and be on purpose,


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