a feeling of sadness, repentance, or disappointment over something that has happened or a missed opportunity.
Regret lives so deeply within our being that it holds us captive until we learn to release it. Sometimes we experience the feeling instantly, making us feel overwhelmingly ashamed, embarrassed or angry. It is often easier to navigate through these emotions when we have a conscious understanding, in the present moment, that we have acted against the very truth of who we are.
More often than not regret is buried beneath our surfaces and embedded into our subconscious. Acknowledging our pain and understanding the impact of our decisions is not always done in the present moment. Regret can hit months, years and decades later (if you allow it). When regret sinks in it can wreck emotional havoc and spiral you into making more damning decisions. Regret takes you out of the present moment which often turns our focus from the person we have become and may consequently allow you to fall back into old ways. It is a time machine that may make you feel hurt, anger, disgust and sadness all over again-or possibly for the first time.
Letting go and moving through those emotions is often a rigorous process. Dealing with the consequences of your own actions and decisions is part of life. Often we need to give ourselves the benefit of the doubt and realize we were doing the best we could with what we had and what we knew. Being gracious to oneself is a tough task, if you only knew then what you know now, right? But you didn’t and that’s okay, you can move forward.
The best thing about regret is that the actions and decisions live in the past and the beautiful thing about your life is that it takes place in the present. Let’s vow to stop looking backwards, let’s look forward to what new opportunities are on our horizons. Sometimes things do not work out for a reason, which you may never know, maybe your actions will make sense when your older and wiser, hopefully you lean into your future instead of being sucked into your past.
Be unapologetic, so what- you failed, you missed the shot, you ruined that relationship, you didn’t go for that promotion, OH WELL. All of your decisions are part of who you are and who you’re supposed to become. It is you, these regrets are just experiences that shape us into more knowledgeable, capable and experienced humans. I am 26 and divorced (later posts), so what? My divorce actually shaped me into the person I am today and I am a better person because of it. If you’ve read my post I am a SINNER. then you’ll know I have made plenty of mistakes, ones anyone would regret, BUT, I have learned to focus on the positive and love myself regardless of what I’ve done or failed to do. If you’re not still living in the same spiral of bad decisions that is what truly matters. You’ve grown and are better for it. If you’ve experienced a paradigm shift, changed your consciousness, treat people better, love deeper, try harder, appreciate life more-then it was good for you and everyone else who gets the pleasure of knowing you. If your experience causes you to wake up, have an ah-ha moment then life is good. Failure just makes us realize we need to move in another direction. Growth is sometimes painful but absolutely beautiful when you learn to appreciate it for what it is.
Letting go of regret isn’t a simple process, each individual has to deal with it and dump it in a way that suits them. Reflecting, journaling, praying, seeing a therapist, meditating, confiding in a friend, apologizing, forgiving are all normal and great ways to deal. But the point is to deal with them and move past them. Life is what you focus on, CHOOSE to focus on the positive, transformed, beautiful person that you are.
Tips to overcome regret:
- Forward, always! Our focus should always be forward; do you make plans for the past? No, your mistakes are stepping stones to your success. You are only responsible now for taking these steps with intention.
- Be unapologetic, it’s part of you and your story-Own it!
- Let it out, find a way to release all of your emotions and get it all off your chest. It is important to confide in individuals who love you unconditionally or at the very least do not cast judgement on your previous actions. If you need to seek a therapist don’t be ashamed or embarrassed healing up your wounds allows you to step forward and unhook the baggage you’ve been carrying. If you are religious find a space to pray or meditate on peace, love and grace.
- Make amends with yourself and others-apologize to yourself, others, the universe and God. Write an apology letter (even if you don’t send it). If you are religious, ask for repentance from your God/universe, end the cycle of bad karma and juju.
- Appreciate your growth, realize that you are walking on the stuff that you used to sink in!
“Turn your wounds into wisdom and your stumbling blocks into stepping stones.” -Robin Sharma
May you have peace in your hearts,