Regret comes in all shapes and sizes. Some are small like when we do a bad thing for a good reason. Some are bigger like when we let down a friend. Some of us escape the pain of regret by making the right choice. Some of us have a little time for regret because we’re looking forward to the future. Sometimes we have to fight to come to terms with the past, and sometimes we bury our regrets by promising to change on our own way.
But our regrets are not for thing we did—but, for things we didn’t do. Things we didn’t say that could’ve or might’ve saved someone that we cared about. Especially when we can see the dark storm it’s headed their way.
There is no such thing as a life without any regrets. However, regrets can become either burdens that interfere with your present happiness and restrict your future, or motivation to move forward. If you find yourself overcome by regrets, here are some steps that should help you integrate them.
Determine what your regret really is. Do you regret something you did or something you didn’t do? Something someone else did or did not do? A circumstance beyond your control? It is important to step back from the feelings of regret and identify exactly what the regret is.
Ask for forgiveness and make amends. Apologize for any harm you may have caused others, it does not kill to ask for forgiveness so give it a go! Forgive yourself. Forgiving others will make you happier. Be compassionate toward everyone involved including yourself.
Accept the circumstances. Avoid blaming others but rather take responsibility for anything that you could have better handled.
Deal with toxic relationships. Sometimes other people cause us to do things that leave us with serious regrets. Do you have a toxic relationship that needs to be addressed or severed?
Grieve for your regrets. When we feel regret, we re-live guilt, sadness or anger over and over again. Allowing yourself to experience these feelings fully with the intention of moving forward can help you stop revisiting them.
Recognize what you have learned or gained. When you find yourself thinking of the regret, turn your thoughts to the things you have learned and the opportunities that are now yours – even if they are not what you would have preferred. There is always a lesson even in pain and sadness. Look for the lesson and focus on it instead of what might have been.
Write out a plan or agreement for yourself that identifies how you could avoid having this sort of regret in the future.