Regret is the action of feeling sad, remorseful, or disappointed over something one believes they have caused to happen. Regret comes down over your life like a dark cloud. If you are NOT careful, regret will steal your happiness and motivation.
Working as a therapist and life coach, regret is at the core of all mental health challenges. People regret their actions; and as a result, feel guilt and shame. That guilt and shame is a painful emotion that dictates how we appear to others and to ourselves.
The reality is that, people often feel regret without having any evidence to back up that belief. Regret can be felt even without having done something dishonorable, improper, or ridiculous.
The power of regret is in the perception of it. Something happens, you think that you have done something bad, you feel the emotion of regret coupled with guilt and shame, your body physically reacts, and then you behave in a way that causes you to withdraw or act aggressively.
With that being said, here’s how to deal with regret in a positive light:
3 Tips on How To Deal with Regret
1.) Lost opportunities equal new beginnings…
When we put our heart into an opportunity, our expectations build. We anticipate that the hard work that we put into a goal will result in our desired outcome. Our desires can cause us the greatest pain. For example: think about that failed relationship that you put your all into.
You meet that King or Queen, that looks good, smells good, has a great career, is polite, and everything that you could dream of in partner. Six months in, you have been fighting everyday and received that lunch invite that has resulted in your inevitable break-up.
A break-up (like many other life-changing things that don’t pan out) leaves us with a wound. If we don’t know how to deal with regret in that new relationship, then we lose our motivation to try again. Regret in the long run can – and will – steal YOUR happiness.
The good thing is that wound heals (eventually) in ways we can’t expect. We learn so much by giving our all that we are forever changed. The person or situation happened to you for a reason. It happened so that you can learn your limits and know how to push through them—if only to help you with your next dream.
2.) Be proud of your inability to fit in a label or category defined by your world…
I started my career in the corporate sector and soon realized how large organization value perfection. I was on a constant cycle of refinement and the pursuit of perfection. My job title labeled me as a specialist. Therefore, what I did had to be errorless and effortless.
When I made a mistake, it would hurt. I would make a mistake, my mind would start cycling around what I could have or should have done, my stomach would hurt, and my behavior resulted in restlessness and lost sleep. In the long run, I ended up developing health problems that threatened the functioning of my kidneys.
The loss of NOT being perfect leaves us feeling shortchanged. This is a wound fueled by regret that not only hurts us, but stifles us. Get in touch with WHO you really are and re-connect to your core being. Who is _____? What makes you unique? What are your strengths?
Look past the labels. You are NOT your profession, or role you play in your community or family. You are a special individual that is bigger than a name or category.
In order to understand how to deal with regret, be aware of how it can make you uncomfortable in your own skin. You are NOT defined by your ability to be perfect. You are a collection of exclusive experiences your soul has accumulated.
Be proud of your inability to fit in a label or category defined by your world.
3.) A small degree of regret is healthy….
Although the experience of regret is painful, our ability to recognize that our own actions may have hurt someone – or something – is healthy. This feeling signals the need for change. Change in our expectations, perceptions, or goals.
Negative emotions provide feedback for our unconscious selves. If we get bogged down by regret, our negative thoughts and perceptions will cycle us around and stifle our ability to pursue our dreams or connect with the people closest to us.
Regret helps us be aware, so we can be sure to treat the people in our lives like grand prizes and first choices—NOT like obligations.
Being aware of our regrets helps us learn. However, when we live in them, we put up walls that prevent us from truly living. These walls cause us to live with restraints.
Understand how to deal with regret positively, so that you can love, try new things, and grow. See the internal beauty in life by seeing the internal beauty in others. You are an important puzzle piece in this thing called LIFE.