How to handle your regrets in life
Here we would be exploring, how to stop regretting past mistakes, missed opportunities, guilt, shame and let go of all the past baggage's and bad relationships plus hurts & how to tackle depression.
In this article kindly substitute Shame, Guilt, Our-Constant-Simmering- Invisible-Anger with Regret, as and when it is appropriate. I shall be using Regret word for Regret as well as all these emotions.
All of us have regrets of major and minor types.
It can be in areas of relationship/romance, parents/kids, education, career, finance, health and self.
When our regrets are of such nature that we focus most of the time living in past, it turns into depression.
Not able to deal with our depression, frustrations, irritations effectively, it not only creates havoc in our own life but also impacts negatively the people who are care for us most and could be closest people in our life.
In numerous surveys done at a huge scale by global agencies, it has been found that almost 1 in 2 person suffers from a degree of depression.
Most of our regrets comes from what we consider as mistakes, blunders and failures, for which believe and hold ourselves responsible.
Because of the human ability to reflect and hindsight being 100% perfect, we keep blaming mostly ourselves [even though in many cases, in graver situations, we may blame The God, Other People, Our Luck and the circumstances]
It is an established fact that the People who have big regrets are normally the people who are under achievers, submissive/passive, with low self-esteem/confidence and who lack the ability to move on by letting go of the past and focusing on actions towards future.
We can learn to be happier in the present by being comfortable with our past which would make our future secure as well.
Many of our regrets in life could be connected with things that happened to us at early age. And many of us go through the life carrying this heavy burden of no use.
Even though every negative as well positive emotion in our life has its own advantage as well as downside.
When the negative is in excess, then it becomes a pathetic meaningless existence.
Young children rarely have regrets as their attachment to anything is temporary and they live in the present as a result thereof most of their regrets are temporary.
All of us have made numerous small miscalculations as well as many big mistakes, yet living continuously with the thought of self-blame like wishing we had done things differently and that sabotaging question or doubt "What if ..., makes life hell for some people.
Most of our regrets fall into following two categories
1.Things that you wanted to do but could not or did not
2.Things that you did, but feel that you should not have
In this the number 1 reason is the heaviest burden. Because of the simple fact that the opportunity to redo might have gone various reasons.
Inaction regrets are longer lasting. Regrets concerning actions we've taken cause pain in the immediate aftermath, but goes away comparatively easily.
Why We Have Regret
1.To feel regret, we have to link the consequences or the outcomes to what we did or didn't do.
2.We also need to introspect to know qualify that an action taken or not taken was a poor choice.
3.We regret choices we make, because we worry that we should have made other choices.
4.But the fact is most of the times you can never really be sure whether you made the right decision or choice. As it would be based on your current capabilities/mindset/personality even though you are looking at situations of past factors, which may not be same
Our Worrying Over "Thinking About Regret"
1.All of us have a very fine self-image about ourselves being Smart, Good Hearted, Competent, Knowledgeable etc etc [even in cases you have self-doubt and a negative self-image, subconsciously you believe, that you are basically a good person
2.Now if anyone questions, doubts or attacks our this self-image, we become defensive and if we have submissive and fragile personality, we would keep reflecting
3.The point 2 above is also true, when we feel we have made a mistake, a bad choice or a wrong decision. We castigate ourselves by repeatedly having the inner dialogue, like "why could not I be a better person and made a better decision. Because this bad choice conflicts with our idea that we're a good person.
4.Then another cause could that we compare our choices made and decision taken to a perceived ideal situation, which might not have been true then or now
5.And the problem gets magnified by spinning a web of whirlpool, especially because there's no way to solve this problem, because the bad choice can't be changed and we can't resolve the conflict with our self-identity. So the problem spins around and around, without resolution
Why can't we let it go. What's so important that we need to keep thinking about it.
Typically, what we regret for – put randomly, you can list yours
2.Our Embarrassing moments
3.Not communicating our feelings with someone, when they were alive
4.Not spending enough time with our loved ones
5.Doing good for bad people
6.Sticking with toxic relationships for very long
7.Not taking actions due to fear
8.Not recognizing opportunity when it came
9.Not taking adequate action when some opportunity appeared
10.Resisting change, when it could have been great going with that
11.Not thinking through and deciding on impulse
12.Not exploring other options
13.Not able to change your beliefs in time
14.Living as per other's wishes
15.Not paying attention to your own needs
16.Not Standing up to bullies in school and in life
17.Romance is a big area of regret for most of us. Maybe we dumped someone that we wish we hadn't. Maybe they dumped us.
18.Worrying about what others thought about us
19.Not taken life so seriously
20.Not able to mend fence or a relationship by Burying the hatchet with a family member or old friend
21.Not Trusting that voice in the back of our mind
22.Not asking our crush or expressing our feelings to her/him
23.Getting involved with the wrong group of people
24.Getting addicted to wrong habits
25.Not paying attention to education and learning when I could
26.Not taking care of my health when I had the chance
27.Not having the courage express my views at an important event
28.Learning another language
29.Being a better father or mother
30.Not having courage to live a life as per may passion
31.Focusing on money, power, position and not on creating memorable moments
32.Not showing care for those who cared for me
33.Not being present kids when they needed me the most
34.Not having taken Certain risks
35.By letting my fear stop me from taking certain actions
36.Playing it too safe
How to Let Go of Regret
I.First Understand the factual reality
1.Nobody in the world, even God, can go back and change anything in that has happened or did not happen, in our past
2.Even if we keep beating ourselves down, except increasing anguish, nothing would change. On the contrary our present and past too would get spoiled
3.If we choose to see it, there would be some good in the choice, instead of always hoping for the perfect choices.
4.We are all these => We make mistakes, we do good things, we care, we are selfish, we are honest, we sometimes aren't honest. therefore, making a bad choice is not the end of the world for us or a dead-end.
5.The only forward is to move forward, by accepting that yes I made this mistake, took this wrong turn, fail to do this and so on
6.Then exploring the possibilities, how you can turn around your life* - there are three blogs "triumph from adversity" , "how to turn your life around" and "failure to…." – you can read go know DIY tips
II.Now for the action steps – again not in any particular order, you prioritize as per your situation
A.Letting go of past
a)Acknowledge Your Actions Without Excuses, justification or being defensive
b)Identify your values and beliefs those which made you act the way you did, during an event
c)Identify the standards, by which you are judging yourself. Do they represent your cores values or what you have picked from others
d)Did you act just to please someone, to get their approval, to impress them or any such motive
e)If you have acted against your values, think about what may have led you to abandon your values. Because going against your values would always hurt only yourself
f)Identify How did your actions affect you and others
g)Identify how can you amend it to the best of your abilities possible under your current situation and capabilities
h)Then take action as per your values and thought process
i)Take this as a learning exercise by identifying, what healthier beliefs, thoughts, feelings, and actions would have led to a more desirable result
j)Identify whether you were acting under the illusion of creating a perfect life, because it manifests your shame
k)You can share with your genuine well-wishers your thoughts, to bring it out in the open to give it the openness to heal
l)Identify, how can you reframe the past events and your role in a healthier way, focusing on how it has made you a better person
m) Understand that you had the best intentions at that time and It Seemed Like a Good Idea then
n)Understand that no one can fully and accurately know the outcome of their decisions until after the action taken and in many cases much later
o)Understand that most of the time We have to make our decisions based on the information we have at the time
p)Stop blaming yourself, generalizing one mistake as who you are
q)Learn the skill of forgiving others as well as forgive yourself
r)Remember, You Are At Present! All of our shames occurred in the past
s)If you have hurt someone or wronged someone, go and apologize. Don't apologize for what you think you did wrong. Apologize for what they think you did wrong
t)Learn to start loving yourself * read my blog on this
a) Create a vision, Make it bigger than yourself b) Make action plan by considering all elements of success * read my several blogs on strategies, taking decisions and creative problem solving c) Make the decision to move forward by taking actions and improvising till you reach your mile stones
d)Take small steps
e) Get support of a mentor
f)Focus on making yourself a better person everyday, Stop Comparing You With Other People
g)Handle put-downs and Respond To Those Who Try To Make You Feel Ashamed, guilty or bad, assertively* read my two blog on these – "how to be assertive" and "handling difficult people"
h)Learn to find humor in your ups as well as downs
i)Be Willing To Change How You See Yourself
j)Make continuous learning your life goal
k)Count your blessings
l)Stop worrying about ifs and buts
m) Don't let others decide whether to make you happy or sad
n)Take a Look at the Relationship You Have with Yourself
o)Identify and address your weaknesses * read my blog how to turn your weakness into your strength
p)Keep Challenging your thinking, your assumptions, your beliefs
q) Realize Regret Only Begets More Regret r) Decide to Give Yourself a Second Chance s) Use Your Regret to Help Others
t)Accept that many events are outside of your control.
u)Stop judging people
v)Learn to Deal with Failure
w)Learn to Let go of your - Should have, could have, would have
x)Stop dealing with Crappy People, get rid of toxic people from your lifey) Learn to Break the vicious cycle, by taking change proactive z) Give others a chance aa) Stop living in an imaginary past, by making your life focused on meaningful actions only towards your dreams