How to Deal with Regret
Is regret weighting you down? This article is full of ways to deal with regret effectively.
According to Wikipedia regret is “the emotion of wishing one had made a different decision in the past, because the consequences of the decision were unfavorable.”
If your feeling regretful, you’re not alone! Top regrets among older people include: not being careful enough when choosing a life partner, not resolving a family estrangement, putting off saying how you feel, not traveling enough, spending too much time worrying, not being honest, not taking enough career chances, and not taking care of your body.
If you’re human, feelings of regret will occur. So, how you deal with regret is critical because regret can lead to some pretty nasty emotions and destructive behaviors. If you’re having trouble moving past your remorse, consider working through these tips to get on with your life.
Want more tips? Download e-book and self-reflection worksheet: Live Regret Free: How to Live with ZERO Regrets and Love Every Minute of Your Life!
8 Tips Guaranteed to Move You Past Regret
1. Everyone Messes Up
Realizing that you are not the only person to ever mess up is an eye-opening experience. The sooner you accept that you are human, you made a mistake or a poor decision, and then move on, the sooner you can get on with your life.
2. Question Your Emotions
If your regret has led to some of the nastier emotions that come with it, start questioning those emotions. Is the self-loathing really helping? Does it make you or others feel better? Probably not. Those are your emotions, and you have the right to question them.
3. Reject Your Negative Self-Talk
When you find yourself slipping into negative self-talk, stop and question it. Negative self-talk is one of the most counterproductive acts you can take part it. Question why you are saying those things to yourself and if they are getting you anywhere.
4. Question Your Triggers for Negative Self-Talk
What starts your negative self-talk? Is it internal, something someone else says, or another emotion? Do your best or remove those triggers so you can go through your day without being reminded.
5. Question Your Thoughts
Our thoughts shape our actions and our reality. If you are having negative thoughts (about yourself or a situation), then question those. Why do you have them? Are they helping? Our thoughts directly impact our perception of reality and our outward actions. Do not let your negative thoughts run amuck.
6. Gratitude – Do It!
Regular gratitude can help you see the good in your days, your weeks, and your life. Stop and be thankful for what you do have.
7. Be Authentic to Yourself
Your one mistake is not the sum of who you are. Be honest with yourself and who you are. What are your positive qualities and attributes? What do you want to do moving forward?
8. Apologize to and Forgive Yourself
Let yourself off the hook. Forgive yourself for the poor decision. Apologize to yourself for the regret and negative emotions, and then forgive yourself again for speaking so harshly to yourself.
Regret can bog you down and create an endless cycle. Use these tips of deal with regret. Take time daily to work through your regret and allow yourself to move past and reach your full potential.
4 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Regret Past Decisions
Regret is often the outcome of failure. Sometimes it is the result of a poor decision. Sometimes it’s a hard lesson learned. Regret, at its core, is an emotion. But you do not have to feel regret at all when you think of your past decisions that turned out less than stellar. You might even need to be thankful that it happened. Use these tips of deal with regret.
1. Character Building
Failure, poor decisions, or whatever, it all builds character. Our character is continuously changed and shaped throughout our lifetime. The only way to do that is through experience. The experiences you have, good and bad, will ultimately build your character in a better and stronger version of what you started with.
2. There’s a Reason for Everything
“Everything happens for a reason” is super cliché, but it’s the truth. Be it a bad relationship or a misstep on an important work or school assignment, there is a reason why it happened. Sometimes that reason is just learning a lesson (start early on a big project), or maybe that bad relationship allowed you to meet the love of your life. When regret weighs heavy, take a step back and look at the big, interlocking picture of your life.
3. Lessons Learned
We all have to learn lessons. That’s just a fact of life. Instead of regretting every past decision, look back at all the lessons you have learned and the wisdom you now have to move forward more prepared than when you started. Be thankful for the opportunity to learn.
4. Success Isn’t Free
No success is free. For every achievement you see, someone somewhere had to pay for it. So, you might as well pay for your own success. For every failure you experience in life, every regret you feel to your bones, you are that much closer to succeeding, to having paid your dues, learned your lessons, and having every tool you need in your toolbox to make your success happen.
Regret and success are fickle creatures. You cannot have one without the other. However, sometimes we become so caught up in the woes of remorse that we can’t see the success just over the horizon or that with every failure, we have marked off another way not to succeed. Reframing your regret will open up a new world of possibilities for your past decisions and your future self.
4 Quick Changes that will Take the Focus off Regret
Regret is often an all-consuming feeling. It can take over your life, pushing out other hopeful feelings and sometimes even your ability to think clearly and make rational decisions. It doesn’t have to be that way, though. Take the time to stop, think about your feelings and actions, and implement quick changes that will allow you to move on with your life and be a better you. Use these tips of deal with regret.
1. Deal with It
Think about your regret and just deal with it for a moment. Let yourself feel the shame, the anger, the sorrow, and maybe even some fear. Deal with those emotions, and then let them go. Once you release those emotions and regret along with them, you can move on with your life and find better ways to spend your time.
2. Break Up with Bad Habits
A lot of regret stems from bad habits. Maybe you feel remorse over the mean things you say to your friend every time you overindulge at Wine Wednesdays. Break up with Wine Wednesdays. Bad habits are hard to stop, but the sooner you can start focusing on the happier aspects of life, the sooner you’ll be able to let go of regret. Breaking up with a bad habit will not only help stop the remorse but will also give you something new to focus on. You can also fill that free time with new good and healthy habits – like suggestions three and four.
3. Practice Gratitude
Be present and thankful for the little and big things in your life. Studies have shown that practicing daily gratitude, especially when you write it down, can improve mood. While everyone has regrets, practicing daily gratitude will allow you to focus on the good while also being thankful for the good that you have in your life.
4. Find Passion in Your Day
Passion comes in many varieties. Love for your job, for your hobby, for your family, for your partner. Passion is the sprinkles on the sundae of life. It makes things taste better, feel better, and seem better – even when they may not actually be. Find your passions and focus on those and allow yourself to enjoy.
Making changes can be scary. However, more often than not, the scary changes are much less horrific than continuing on a negative spiral filled with regret and hard emotions that will weigh you down. Consider these quick changes for changing your outlook.
8 Ways Regret Can Actually Be Good for You
Regret is a funny emotion. Sometimes it is the result of one specific situation, or it is the result of a series of actions or inactions. No matter how you come to find yourself as a bedfellow to regret, there are also two ways to handle it. You can wallow in regret, or you can learn from it and become better. Use these tips of deal with regret.
1. Find Your Weaknesses
Weaknesses, like regret, come in many forms. However, understanding your regret and why you feel it can allow you to pinpoint your weaknesses. Once found, you can work on strengthening those aspects of yourself and your life.
2. Learn from Your Mistakes
Mistakes happen. What counts is that you learn from them and become better. You can’t change the past, but you can take steps to change your future.
3. Learn to Adapt
Change is hard. Take time to learn how you need to adapt and then implement those changes. You don’t have to do this well, you just have to try.
4. Find What You Can Control
Regrets can manifest from situations both within and outside of your control. Working through situations such as these will allow you to find what you can control and what you cannot. Learn to focus on what you can manage and move past what you can’t.
5. Embrace Change
Change will come with regret if you are the type of person to learn from mistakes or situations. Learn to embrace those changes and roll with the punches so you can become a better person.
6. Assess Your Relationships
Take a long hard look at your relationships. What you’re putting in, what the other person is putting in. Is this a healthy relationship? While moving past some connections may be difficult, it may be the best for you and the other person in the long term.
7. Learn to Take Responsibility
If your regret comes from your own actions, use this as a time to learn to take responsibility for your life.
8. Open Your Mind
Sometimes hard life events can lead us to ways of thinking and living. Be willing to open your mind to new ideas.
Regret can be useful. It can teach us to be better, act better, and maybe even show us some hard-won lessons along the way. Use the times of regret to open yourself to new possibilities.
4 Quick and Clever Tips to Deal with Regret
Regret and the emotions that come along with it can eat you alive if you let them. Furthermore, regret can cause you to treat others and allow others to treat you in a way that you wouldn’t otherwise allow. This is no way to live. Regret can seem all-consuming and something you will live with forever. Work through the four tips below to release these harmful emotions and move on. Use these tips of deal with regret.
1. Burn it Down
This isn’t referring to the patriarchy. Write down every single emotion: the regret, the hurt, the anger, the sadness, and why you feel it. Then burn or shred these pieces of paper. Releasing the emotions from you will allow you to close the loop that has most likely been running in your brain and physically step away from that cycle. This step probably seems the silliest, but you will be surprised by how freeing it actually is.
2. Apologize, Once
Apologize to anyone that you may have hurt while wallowing in your regret if you haven’t apologized yet. Then, apologize to yourself. Now, stop asking for forgiveness. It’s time to let it go and know you’ve made amends where necessary. You cannot spend the rest of your life apologizing, nor do you deserve to live like that.
3. Then Say No
After you’re done apologizing, you need to tell yourself and others, “No!” When regret comes pushing at your psyche in the wee hours of the night, tell it, “No!” When someone tries to lull you in, reminding you of your regret, tell that person, “No!” You do not have to give in to those thoughts or pressures no matter who they come from. You have done your apologizing, and it is time to move on.
4. Remember Kindness
Kindness toward yourself and others is essential. Remember that you’re not the only one dealing with regret in this world. Everyone deserves compassion, even you. If you’re particularly hard on yourself, you can cultivate self-compassion. It might be easier than you think. Ask yourself: “Imagine that you are talking to yourself about this regret from a compassionate and understanding perspective. What would you say?” Does that prompt change your state of mind? Also, while you have regret, that doesn’t mean that you don’t deserve good things: a break, a bouquet of flowers, a compliment.
Regret can be an overwhelming burden. The emotions that come with it can tip the scale against your favor. Work through these tips, keeping an open mind and a focus on allowing yourself to move past your emotions and past events. You deserve to be free of your regret.
Remember, you don’t have to go it alone. If you’re struggling to deal with regret effectively, book a FREE 20-minute consultation and we’ll talk about how coaching can help!