Regret has been a topic with some of my clients. It’s a hard one, it causes a lot of angst and pain. Statements like, “It was my fault, I was awful”, and “I can’t believe I didn’t see what was coming” keep them awake at night, hurt and angry. As I contemplated ways to help them, I realized we all need tools for releasing regret.
Living with regret keeps you locked in the past, rehashing details that also keep you locked in heart ache and agony. While I could easily do that for some of the iffy choices I made early in life, I don’t live with regret. I’ve learned to accept my choices. For those who question theirs, I realize how painful it can be. I promise there is a better way.
I want to make a case that there are no wrong choices, you can always get to where you want from where you are now. It’s all in how you look at it. See if this helps.
FIND THE BIG PICTURE PERSPECTIVE
For every regret, back up far enough from the situation so you can see all the variables that contributed to you being in that place of regret. It may mean going back to your childhood and looking at how you were raised. Notice the messages you were given that influenced how you thought about yourself. Understand the experiences that might have contributed to decisions to do things the way you did. Find the thread that connects everything together, so it makes sense.
Anyone who has had tough childhood experiences, carry some scars. It’s true for almost everyone. Understand the circumstances that contributed to how you responded, acted, chose and decided the way you did. There are reasons for all of it. Find it.
LOOK WITH COMPASSION
Once you have the big picture perspective, look at yourself with complete compassion and acceptance. This view tells you – “Of course you felt, acted and chose the way you did, it was the natural outgrowth of everything that happened before”. It’s the view that says, “you did the best you could”. Compassion makes it all understandable.
When you normalize what happened with compassion, you are giving yourself acceptance that will soften your judgement. The judgment is the problem. Find your empathy, kindness and consideration, like you would give to a friend. Extend this loving gentleness to yourself – it will heal you.
RECOGNIZE WHAT YOU’VE LEARNED
When you look at the regrets in your life, it means you see it differently now. You might see other people differently, or you might be sorry for your role in what happened. What accounts for this change? Acknowledge what you have learned and how far you have come to see it differently now. Remember, what you don’t learn will be repeated until you do.
This point of learning represents your growth. It’s something to celebrate – find some gratitude in what you learned. It represents your new jumping off place for going forward so that you make different choices or have different reactions now. It’s the whole point of our life, to live and learn, moving forward as we go. Note if there are things you need to say or do to honor this change.
UNDERSTAND THE ROLE OF INSTINCT
To reinforce the growth you have experienced, there is one more important step. I recommend going back and making note of what your instincts told you about that situation you regret. Did you have some nudges that said it was incorrect for you? Notice how you may have ignored them or not trusted them. This is important.
Moving forward, incorporating your instincts, along with what you have learned, makes you stronger and more able to make decisions that represent your best interests. Your instincts are always there for you. It may come in the form of physical reactions in the pit of your stomach, tension in your body, even illness or a warning voice inside. Everyone has a different way of knowing. Trust and claim yours. It will help you in the new choices you make so you no longer live with regret.
If regret has haunted you, try this way of looking at what happened. Find the big picture perspective that incorporates your past so you can understand the “why” of the situation. Look at it with compassion and acceptance so you normalize it. Find what you have learned from the experience and notice what your instincts told you all along. When you put all these things together, you will be able to make choices that won’t cause regret. Most of all you will understand what brought you to where you are today and you will move forward with confidence.
Is this a process you’d like some help with? Reach out. Don’t let regrets hold you back when you can find a way to move forward with strength and clarity. Go to www.spectrumtransformation.com and use my Free Consultation link. I’d love to help.