To a greater or lesser extent, we’ve all experienced regret. Sometimes it is the result of one specific situation, or it is the result of a series of actions or inactions.
No matter how you come to find yourself as a bedfellow to regret, there are also two ways to handle it. You can wallow in regret, or you can learn from it and become better. Learning from regret can be an equally painful process as self-indulgence, but the results are much better.
- Find Your Weaknesses
Weaknesses, like regret, come in many forms. However, understanding your regret and why you feel it can allow you to pinpoint your weaknesses. Once found, you can work on strengthening those aspects of yourself and your life.
- Learn from Your Mistakes
Mistakes happen. What counts is that you learn from them and become better. You can’t change the past, but you can take steps to change your future.
- Learn to Adapt
Change is hard. Take time to learn how you need to adapt and then implement those changes. You don’t have to do this well, you just have to try.
- Find What You Can Control
Regrets can manifest from situations both within and outside of your control. Working through situations such as these will allow you to find what you can control and what you cannot. Learn to focus on what you can manage and move past what you can’t.
- Embrace Change
Change will come with regret if you are the type of person to learn from mistakes or situations. Learn to embrace those changes and roll with the punches so you can become a better person.
- Assess Your Relationships
Take a long hard look at your relationships. What you’re putting in, what the other person is putting in. Is this a healthy relationship? While moving past some connections may be difficult, it may be the best for you and the other person in the long term.
- Learn to Take Responsibility
If your regret comes from your own actions, use this as a time to learn to take responsibility for your life.
- Open Your Mind
Sometimes hard life events can lead us to ways of thinking and living. Be willing to open your mind to new ideas.
Some Tips to Handle Regret
Regret and the emotions that come along with it can eat you alive if you let them. Furthermore, regret can cause you to treat others and allow others to treat you in a way that you wouldn’t otherwise allow. This is no way to live. Regret can seem all-consuming and something you will live with forever. Work through the four tips below to release these harmful emotions and move on.
- Burn it Down
This isn’t referring to the patriarchy. Write down every single emotion: the regret, the hurt, the anger, the sadness, and why you feel it. Then burn or shred these pieces of paper. Releasing the emotions from you will allow you to close the loop that has most likely been running in your brain and physically step away from that cycle. This step probably seems the silliest, but you will be surprised by how freeing it actually is.
- Apologize, Once
Apologize to anyone that you may have hurt while wallowing in your regret if you haven’t apologized yet. Then, apologize to yourself. Now, stop asking for forgiveness. It’s time to let it go and know you’ve made amends where necessary. You cannot spend the rest of your life apologizing, nor do you deserve to live like that.
- Then Say No
After you’re done apologizing, you need to tell yourself and others, “No!” When regret comes pushing at your psyche in the wee hours of the night, tell it, “No!” When someone tries to lull you in, reminding you of your regret, tell that person, “No!” You do not have to give in to those thoughts or pressures no matter who they come from. You have done your apologizing, and it is time to move on.
- Remember Kindness
Kindness is something that you should show others. Remember that you are not the only one dealing with regret in this world. Show compassion to others and in hopes that it will be returned to you one day. However, you also need to show yourself kindness. While you have regret, that does not mean that you don’t deserve things: a break, a bouquet of flowers, a compliment. Remember that above all else, everyone deserves compassion.
Regret can be an overwhelming burden. The emotions that come with it can tip the scale against your favor. Work through these tips, keeping an open mind and a focus on allowing yourself to move past your emotions and past events. You deserve to be free of your regret.