“Take every chance you have, so you won’t regret it!” or, “I shouldn’t have let that happen…” You know the process. You do something, then you realize you did something you wish you didn’t do.
Maybe you broke someone else’s trust, and now you’re overwhelmed with guilt. Perhaps you compromised on your principles in some way, and now you’re terrified that your world will come crashing down. Regardless of what you did, you can feel your anxiety like a sack of red-hot bowling balls surgically implanted in your gut. (Too dramatic? Perhaps. But regret is rarely reasonable!)
It’s the dreaded, “Oh no! What was I thinking?” moment when you know you’ve done something you shouldn’t have, and you see only two possible outcomes: either, “I might not be able to fix this!” or, “I’m certainly going to lose something important!”
Both of those things might be true. In fact, they often are. Actions do have consequences. We do lose things, all through life. Nothing is permanent, not even the most secure relationship. But none of this has to be catastrophic.
Sometimes, losing one thing leaves you open to something else. It may be a lesson that helps you become more effective and happier in the future. Or, it could be a new possibility that you never even considered the possibility of actually seeking, like that dream you put off to go work that job you just lost. Then again, it’s possible that you won’t discern any benefit right away; maybe you’ll wish you went a different way, grieve what you lost, and then eventually let it go and move on.
The point is, you will eventually be able to let go and move on.
And because you’re a strong, smart, capable person, you will certainly find ways to make this new direction meaningful for you. You will make up for what you lost by gaining something equally important in the aftermath, whether it’s a new understanding of your strengths, a new idea of who you want to be, or a new opportunity to try again, but a little wiser this time around.
It’s hard to think that way when you feel your dream job slipping through your fingers, or you miss someone who made your life fuller than it could possibly be on your own. What’s important to remember is that no matter what changes or what slips away, you can still do something meaningful and fulfilling from right where you are. That’s how to let go of regrets when they start overwhelming your sense of optimism and possibility. Need more ideas to let your regret fade away?
Here are some positive affirmations that may help you let go of regret.
Don’t even allow regrets. Make each decision with the fullness of heart and mind. Try to view mistakes as lessons learned; they are not meant to be regrets. Do differently next time, and there will be nothing to regret. Try not to think “what if.” Live by all your heart, not by your head.
It takes time and patience, but try to think of all of the positives that came out of the situation. Trust that each experience is a lesson in the journey you’ve chosen and embarked upon. Embrace both the light and the dark, and trust that everybody is exactly where they should be on their journey in this life.
Don’t attach yourself to your emotions. Breathe, reflect, learn and forgive yourself. Recognize the emotion, let it go, and move on.
Regret is a waste of time. Don’t hold on to it. Find something better to replace it. We may come to regret the time we spent regretting, unless we’ve learned from the regrets and focus to make a more centered and peaceful now, where we strive to create fewer regrets and more love.
Having some regrets may not be a bad thing. They can make you strive for better. If you never had them, you wouldn’t grow spiritually. It’s your preconceptions of regrets that determine how they affect you, positively or negatively.
Regrets are visitors in the guest house of the mind. Like all feelings, they come and they go. And sometimes, life gives you circumstances that simply have to be grieved. There’s no way around that. So feel it, review it, learn it, shed it.
Every time a regret crosses your mind, set your mind instead on something positive in your life. Every bad decision can be rectified, depending on how much work you’re willing to put into it.
Every feeling has a purpose related to survival. Regret can be useful. You can’t hope to change this fact, because it’s simply part of life. You can instead learn to deal with feelings of regret by reflecting on them, then learning from mistakes, then finally letting go.
What helps you let go of regrets?