We all know it, that horrible panging feeling that something went wrong. Something didn’t happen the way we wished it had, we didn’t do what we maybe should have, the feeling of “I wish that had gone differently”. Regret sucks and we’ve all been there.
When the feeling of regret strikes there are really two ways to go at it: 1) there is the dwelling and feeling bad about what went down, a sort of negative pool, and 2) there is the turning negativity into a what-not-to-do-next-time, a form of progress, and/or something that made you stronger.
I’m partial to approach 2 and I can safely say I no longer have regrets. So here’s how it works:
- OK so regret hits you. What should you do first? Should you sit around and mope about what you wish had happened? NO! Step one is to accept what went down. Think to yourself “OK that happened. It is over, and it is now out of my hands.” Really accept that it has already happened and take it in. It’s done.
- Cool. So hopefully now you’ve accepted that the thing that made you feel this way is over. Now what? Now, you take all that powerful, negative, regret energy, and you channel it to make a change. You can think something like “OK, I feel crappy. What can I do now that will improve how I feel? What can I do now that will help me walk away from this with more knowledge and/or strength? How can I fix this and make it feel better or at least bring myself peace?”
- Hopefully now you have figured out some positive or helpful action to improve the situation for yourself and feel better. Act on that. Is it apologizing to someone? Is it walking away and knowing what not to do next time? Maybe it’s realizing what to do the next time and resolving to do it. Whatever it is, take action. Use that strong energy of regret to benefit you. Twist its arm in your own direction, so to speak.
- Hopefully you now can feel better or at peace with the situation. Despite all the tools we can use, sometimes we can’t fix how we feel. Those times you need to take step one, accept it’s done, and then choose to be strong. Remember that time will heal, and you’ll feel better later on. Try to remember that you handled whatever it was the way that seemed right, you did all you can do, and it’s OK.
Any regret, no matter how big, can be changed to make you stronger, teach you something, realize something important, and so on. Don’t let regret drive you–you have the power to change it into something different. You are in control of how you feel and how you react, so take the reins and choose to not let regret hold you back.
I guarantee the more you practice changing your thinking when it comes to regrets, the easier it will be, and soon you won’t see them as regrets anymore.
- You can change the negativity of regret into something productive and positive
- Accept what happened
- Figure out what you can do to make yourself feel at peace and/or what you can do to turn the situation around
- Take action
- Remember time heals everything
- Don’t forget that you are in the driver’s seat
- Never regret. Ever. Period.
Is there anything you would add? Have you been able to turn any regrets around?