Why shouldn’t you regret?
Quite simply you have ZERO influence over the past, therefore it’s a waste of energy to wallow in regrets of “what ifs?” or “what have I done?”
YOU CAN’T CHANGE IT. It’s happened.
Some believe that the feeling of regret is self-indulgent, is almost a “woe is me” attitude.
I agree with this analysis to some extent with some people.
But I also know that genuine regret is a real emotion and if severe enough, can be debilitating to the person who is feeling it.
What is regret?
Regret is caused by two things:
- Guilt about something you didn’t do
- Guilt about something you did do
Why regret is not serving you?
Until you can get your hands on a Time Machine, there is nothing you can do to change what has happened.
It’s happened. Done. Over. Finished.
Constantly raking over the past, scratching at the scab is not going to do you any good.
How to handle regrets
In an ideal world you would never feel remorse, in fact you would never make mistakes.
But we live in reality and with the best will in the world, sh*t happens, which can leave us regretting what we did or didn’t do.
There is no escaping the feeling of regret or remorse, at some point in the future it you will feel it. It’s a natural emotion.
But it’s how you manage yourself when in a situation of regret.
What can you do to turn a negative situation into a positive?
- Don’t discuss it with every person you come into contact with
Women tend to do this more than men I think.
You definitely need to talk, that in itself is therapy, but stick to discussing with one or maybe two people.
The more you discuss something, the more it will stay fresh in your mind, keeping those raw emotions alive.
You will also leave yourself open to hearing a million different views as to what you should and shouldn’t have done causing another wave of analysis and over thinking.
Finally, if you keep mentioning it, you can inadvertently fuel the “gossips” fire.
Pick one or two people you trust and discuss with it them only.
2. Learn the lesson
Learn from the regret. Turn a negative into a positive.
What will you do when the situation arises in the future? What wouldn’t you do? What help do you need to ensure that next time you get what you want out of the situation?
What are the positives that have come out of the situation?
3. Current action remedy
Is there anything you can do now to rectify the situation?
If there is, do it now.
Make the phone call to apologise or pay for the damage.
Make amends as best you can.
4. Evaluate your life
Use a regret as a time to evaluate your life.
What can you do with your life now? What haven’t you done that you want to do? Can you travel somewhere? What courses can you take? How will you be a better person? Do you want to move home? Do you want a new career?
5. Failure is a call for adaption
It went wrong, so can you adapt what you did and make it a success?
A failure is a perfect opportunity to tweak a product, service or yourself to come back with something so much better than before.
6. Reason for everything
There absolutely is.
Talking from past experience, the bad times, the things I did that I regretted have always, always taken me onto a new path of success.
All of them.
My experiences, the good and bad, have led me to the position where I am now and it’s exactly where I should be.
How many times has rubbish happened only for you to look back later with a smile and understand exactly why you went through what you went through?
“The past is where you learnt the lesson. The future is where you apply it”.
I see turbulent times as the fork in the road; they push you one way or another depending on how you react.
I’m not going to get too spiritual here, but I do believe bad times are sent to us for a reason.
Instead of thinking “why me?” or “it’s not fair!” believe that it’ been delivered for your highest good. There is a reason for its presence.
Use it as an excuse to evaluate life and make changes.
Ps – see this article on 6 reasons why you should never regret: