My mother used to say that she had “so many regrets” as do many of the clients I work with. Personally, I feel that REGRET [defined here as a feeling about an action / behavior / decision that I am responsible for) is a complete waste of our mental and emotional energy – robbing the present moment for consideration of something that simply cannot be changed. Here are 5 simple and basic thoughts that you can practice each time a ‘regret’ surfaces. Eventually, they will automatically balance the negative energy created when those moments pop up.
Remember that the action / behavior / decision you regret NOW was something you wanted THEN.
We tend to forget this simple point. For whatever reason – in that moment, whatever it was that you did felt like the right decision. It may have been impulsive and/or irrational but in THAT moment it was your CHOICE. If you find that you make a lot of impulsive decisions, seek help/advice on how to be sure that choices are positive ones. If you find that you regret a job or relationship… remember how great you initially felt!
The circumstances THEN were probably conducive to the decision you made.
It is highly possible (in fact even, probably) that the environment AT THAT TIME may have called for the exact decision that you made. You know the saying about hindsight….. The majority of us do not get up in the morning and plan to do something regrettable. Essentially, we all do the best we can, under the circumstances, based on what we know. This is true for almost ALL of us.
Accept responsibility for the action / behavior / decision.
Own the facts. You did something that may be unbecoming, hurt someone, created drama, cost money, etc… Don’t allow yourself to avoid the basic responsibility for YOUR actions. Owning behavior is a key ingredient to a healthy mind.
Forgive Yourself – NO one is perfect!
Common sense allows us to ‘know’ that perfection does not exist and yet – SO MANY people continue to seek it. If necessary, take time to grieve for the loss of the possibility that you are not (and never will be) perfect. It’s a hard concept at times to grasp, especially if you’ve been chasing perfection for a lifetime. Learn to accept that you have made mistakes and will likely continue to make them in the future. Learn to be as compassionate about yourself as you are with others.
Look for the lesson!
My personal philosophy is that in EVERY experience, there is an opportunity to learn something. Instead of spending energy on a regrettable situation – spend energy seeking the value of the experience. How could I have avoided the negative consequence? What would be a better option if there is a next time? How can I grow from this? Who do I need to reconcile with? In what way can I become a better person from this knowledge?
One of my favorite quotes is that of Maya Angelou…
“When we know better, we do better”.
The truth of that statement is SO simple. Sometimes, we really did ‘know better’ but for some reason, we didn’t listen to our inner voice, our heart, our friends or family… learn from that!
For those of you who believe that “everything happens for a reason” – you must accept then, that
THIS moment, this very moment – is PERFECT in its intention!!