Regret can be poisonous, and yet we all deal with it many times in our lives. How much it consumes us depends on how well we deal with regret. The size or importance of the subject has nothing to do with the impact it can have on your life. Someone can deal with a large situation by simply moving on while other can torture themselves over seemingly small decisions.
Whether it’s personal regret or professional regret, there’s always ways of finding healthy methods to keep it from controlling your life. If you find yourself consumed by regret consider these tips for ridding yourself of it and move on with the rest of your life.
When addressing regret, you need to understand where it’s coming from. This might sound like obvious, unhelpful advice, but regret is often a knee-jerk, emotional reaction to something. When you start to get down on yourself for not achieving this, or no realizing that, it can often be unfair to yourself. You need to cut yourself some slack and understand that the way you’re feeling now comes from the benefit of hindsight, where you can see how everything unfolded after the fact. It can be easy to pick things apart now, but consider what you knew and what you could have done differently at the time. Often times you see that you really can’t take too much of the blame.
Focus on today.
When you find yourself in an emotional funk like the ones that can be brought on by deep regret, one of the worst, most frustrating pieces of advice you can hear is to “just get over it”. Hopefully this advice doesn’t appear as thoughtless and unhelpful as that, as it’s not meant to be. Because, while it’s not so easy to just give your head a shake and be back to normal, there’s some benefit to be had in asking yourself, “what am I getting from this”. You have regrets, that’s normal, but what do you gain by focusing on them. They are a distraction and one that will likely lead to more regrets. Sometimes those moments of rational consideration can be helpful.
Embrace the learning experience.
Looking on the brightside of things can sometimes be a hurdle to overcome, but it’s an important step in getting out of a negative space. One thing you can always take away from a situation that fills you with regret is that you can learn a lot from it. In a simple sense, you can learn from the path that brought you to where you are now and how you might have done things differently. In a larger sense, a situation like this can inform you on a number of issues. You can learn how others make decisions, you can learn to empathize with certain situations, and you can learn how to overcome adversity.
Think the whole thing through.
Again, regret can be a knee-jerk reaction, and while there are times when regret can come about a long time after the fact, it is usually a fairly immediate response. And as with immediate responses, there’s a risk that you’re not seeing the whole thing clearly. Thing don’t go your way and you jump to feeling bad about it, but take the time to examine the path. You may find that the decisions you made were justified and that you might not change them if given a second chance. You might find that aspects you thought you failed at were actually out of your hands. Such revelations can be very healing but you need to confront the whole situation to discover them.
Any failure, any set back, just offers another opportunity to do it better and do it right. Regret can drain the motivation from you so it may take considerable willpower but it’s important you can back out there and not allow yourself to one day regret not having given it a second shit.
The end hasn’t been written yet.
Lastly, while the regret may be very present in your life, you need to remember that you’ve yet to fully understand the effects. The immediacy of your regret blind you to the possibility that it will be revealed to be a blessing in disguise. You can’t know how the whole thing will play out until much later and in many cases you’ll look back on the situation that once filled you with regret a realize that you’re glad the way things went.