“Life is too short, time is too precious, and the stakes are too high to dwell on what might have been.” ~ Hillary Clinton

Is a life without regret possible? Probably not, we all have regretted some things in our lives we weren’t best at.

Yes, we all suffer, we are disappointed, and we are hurt and disheartened at some point in life.

So regrets are normal, but to never be able to get over them is when you are considerably wasting your energy.

It is human nature to want to mend the things that went wrong, knowing fully well you can’t. But keeping regrets can not only cause long-term stress, it can cause further health problems too.

regret in life

Make Peace with Your Mind: How Mindfulness and Compassion Can Free You from Your Inner Critic‘ is a book by Mark Coleman in which he says, we encourage feelings of regret by feeding our inner critic, and by saying “not enough,” “not good enough,” or sometimes “too much.”

Therefore, people who constantly channelize their inner critic, keep regrets over how they could have done things differently, justifying how their actions in a particular situation could have been better.

The most common regrets

  1. What if I had spent more time with my family and friends/ I wish I had spent more time with my family and friends.
  2. What if I stood up for myself/ I wish I had the courage to stand up for myself.
  3. What if I had said no to that/ I wish I had said no to that.
  4. What if I had not said that/ I wish I had not said that.

We all have regretted our relationships, lost love, finances, education etc. All such things which affect our decisions in life.

But why do we let ourselves regret a situation when we know it well that it’s going to harm our future? Why do we let ourselves be hurt again?

That’s why you need to get over it no matter what. Regret is a thing of the past and what it can only do is pull you back.

Also read: This Japanese Practice Lets You Soak In The Environment To Reduce Stress

How to move over it:

1. Identify where regret comes from: To work on your regrets you need to identify where they are coming from.

Eg. Do you regret choosing a career you don’t want to continue with?

2. Accept: Accept what you did may have been wrong and that it’s completely fine to make mistakes. You need to deal with and learn from failure instead of crying over what may have been. And for that, you need to accept yourself the way you are. If you never made a mistake, you never learned.

3. Cry: How many times have you heard people saying, “Ab rone se kya hoga, pehle sochna chahie tha”

It’s better to keep that thinking aside for a while. Of course, crying won’t make things the way you want, but it will help you a great deal in getting over what happened.

Crying and sharing your grief with a close one will lighten your heart.

4. Don’t think too much: Stop thinking about what could/should have been. Because what’s done is done. Now you cannot change anything except learning from what may have gone wrong.

regret in life

5. Build positivity around yourself: Make good friends, laugh, read. Do things that make you happy and take you to the path of self- loving instead of self-loathing.

6. Confront: Confrontation is not just an encounter or a face-off, it is a way by which you can deal troublesome situations in a positive and responsible manner. Because unless you confront the situation and the people who put you in it, there is no scope and hope for a closure and closure is what you need to move on in life. If there is a closure there will be nothing you will need to look back and regret about.

7. Send yourself affirmations: Affirmation is a positive thought. Write it to yourself to uplift and encourage yourself.

Eg. -I make mistakes and that is okay.

  • I am not perfect but I am happy.
  • I learn from my mistakes and I try to move on toward a brighter future.
  • I love myself the way I am.

8. The power of an apology: If you regret doing something that could have hurt someone, then don’t think a sorry won’t work. An apology is considered when you deeply believe from your heart that you did something wrong, whether or not the other person accepts is their own problem, because you cannot demand people to act the way you want.

And if you regret doing something that may have ended up hurting yourself then by the same logic, don’t expect an apology because that is for their own good. It shall not affect you because it shall not bother you whether the other person feels regret or not.

That sorry is for their own.

Saying sorry may feel much lighter than expecting someone to say it to you.

9. Forgive and forget: These words are just as simple as they are. You can never move on in life unless you forgive and forget, including forgiving yourself and forgetting the thoughts of what could have been.

Just remember what went wrong and learn.

Image credits: Google Images

Sources: Psychology Today, WikiHow, James Altucher

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