How to Let Go of Regrets and Move On
“The cost of not following your heart is spending the rest of your life wishing you had,” says a popular quote. Unfortunately, it is the truth. How often it happens when we have or have not done something and later regretted it. Such mistakes follow us for a long time and can be like a worm that eats us from the inside to the end of our life. Only by killing this annoying creature, can we return to our customary and measured life. Here are several tips on how to deal with regret without experiencing tough consequences it can bring about.
1. Stop thinking the whole world cares
It always seems that the thing you regret is of utmost importance for the whole planet. Exaggerating its significance, you only reach a deadlock that seems impossible to leave. Realize that the thing you wish could happen is not as important as you thought—soon it will be replaced by more vital information in your brain.
2. Realize it’s all in past now
People, who live in the past, are not able to achieve anything. Their focus on the long-gone events is a kind of a chain that has locked them in the tower and does not allow moving ahead. That is why it is better to set objectives, dreams, and make steps towards your goals. Your past will lose its value over time.
3. Ask yourself, “How could it have been worse?”
An “upward counterfactual” is great for learning, but over time, it is what creates that nagging ache of regret. The situation that happened in your life seems only a trifle in comparison with the death of a close relative or a severe illness, for example. That means that you managed to experience only a light version of something that could be much worse.
4. No More “Should have, could have, would have”
These are never useful phrases. You have to start thinking, “Here’s what I’m going to do the next time I’m in a situation like that.” Some phrases can lead to serious depression instead of simple regret. There is no sense in thinking what could have been done in this or that situation—nothing can be changed. That is why you should focus on the future and plan your next actions. You can also think about what you will do in a similar situation if it happens to you again. Be armed, and there won’t be any reasons to regret.
5. Accept that making decisions may lead to some bad outcomes
Not all the decisions we make lead to desirable results. Hence, it is important to think twice before making some serious decisions, as the results of an instant solution can be unpleasant. Never be too stubborn and self-confident in yourself; every person can make mistakes and accepting this possibility is the first step to avoid them.
6. Turn consequences into experience.
All of us learn from our mistakes, so each experience in our lives is valuable. The important thing is to make this experience useful. No matter how severe the consequences of your actions are, it is necessary to consider it in detail to prevent another similar situation. Another useful piece of advice is to make an evaluation of other people’s experience and avoid mistakes made by others.
7. Fix what you can
Sometimes it is possible to fix some consequences of past actions. Many people may come to the life-changing conclusions after several years, and there are situations you can repair even after a long time. For example, admitting your mistakes and apologizing can save a friendship or relationships you once ruined.
8. Realize that regret is a part of every human life. Accept that humans are fallible creatures
It is natural for humankind to regret past events. Every person tends to make mistakes, act wrongly, underachieve and regret the consequences. There are no perfect people who always follow only the correct path. Who knows where that path is? Making mistakes is a common characteristic of people, and it is unavoidable in our life stories.
9. You can’t know everything
Despite the fact that people are the most intelligent creatures on the planet, there is not a single person who knows everything. Is there any sense in constantly accusing yourself of doing wrong? Of course not. Let the situation flow and never get looped on your troubles. There are situations when even professionals cannot give the only correct answer to the question. Thinking about what you could have learned in advance will not bring you any relief.
10. Get support—someone who has been there and understands
It is always easier to overcome difficulties with someone supporting you. Dealing with regret will also be more effective if done together. Find a person, who has experienced the same or similar situation in life and realizes that you have done everything you could. The feeling of being understood soothes the regret and makes it not so tough.
Dealing with regret does not always guarantee that you to cope with it. Regret is a detrimental feeling for both the health and mind, as it does not allow our brain to make cold-blooded decisions. It influences our further life situations, and it appears much harder to cope with them. You are constantly reminded of the past. That is why coping with regret is necessary if a person wishes to feel confident and strong. Follow these tips to deal with regret and who knows, it may disappear forever.
About the Author
Alexandra Foster is an ex-English teacher who helps parents/students and organizations with educational planning. She also loves to write about education, technology, and marketing. Currently working with Noplag Team as a consultant.