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Cherishing Your Present: The Ultimate Form of Self-Respect

Last Updated: February 8, 2024 by Team


It’s common to hear regrets about past choices, wondering how different life could be had we taken another path. This sentiment spans across those with successful careers to those leading seemingly comfortable lives—nearly everyone seems dissatisfied with their current state.

If we could foresee that the path we’re on isn’t right for us, many might opt for a different, unknown route. Yet, upon embarking on this alternate path and finding it unsatisfactory or worse than before, would we regret our choices even more?

Satisfaction is hard to come by; what we have seems insufficient, and what others possess often evokes envy. It’s said that people tend to envy the lives they didn’t choose, leading many to struggle with enjoying the happiness they’ve opted for.


My boss, a village-born university topper turned student council president, admired by teachers and peers, chose academia over other careers. Now a vice professor with a stable life, he still envies classmates who ventured into bustling metropolises, pondering if a different choice would have made him more successful.

This common mindset surfaces when comparing our lives to others, leading to feelings of discontent and inadequacy, despite achieving a certain level of success and lifestyle.


A high school friend, who opted for a job back home, often regrets not pursuing further studies for a chance at academic work, envying my path. Yet, he doesn’t realize that at times, I envy the simplicity he desired—a life without the pressures of higher education and city living, questioning if less schooling and an early family life would have been preferable.

Our lives are the result of choices made at uncertain moments, guided by courage rather than clear direction. Fortunately, fully embracing and enjoying our chosen paths can lead to contentment and the realization that this life, too, can be fulfilling without regrets.

I remind myself not to envy others or lament my decisions but to appreciate the journey and compare only with my past self.

Learning to love oneself and valuing the present is the greatest form of self-respect, embracing our lives as they are without regret.

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