Dealing with Regret

Non, je ne regrette rien…

OK…hands up who’s never regretted any decision they have ever made.

If allowed to flourish, regret can be long-lasting, deep-seated and an extremely heavy emotion to carry around in our backpack of life. It keeps the roots of our growth entrenched in the past, instead of in the present moment.

Most of us find that after a recent ‘misdemeanor’, we experience mild to moderate levels of regret; however problems occur when we are still experiencing those ‘But I coulda…‘ thoughts on a regular basis about things that may have happened years ago.

The negative energy from the past can carry forward and influence our present as well as our future. Nobody chooses consciously to hold on to regret, so what steps can we take to overcome this heavy emotion and free ourselves in the present from its clammy grip?

Use regret as a signpost to learn from past mistakes

When you experience episodes of regret, try to sit with the feeling and observe it for a few minutes. What does it feel like in your physical body? What experience from the past is the feeling related to? Thinking about that experience in as neutral a light as possible, what lessons can you take away from it?

Although we usually perceive these past experiences as negative (we often believe that we made the wrong choice), we can consciously choose from this moment on to reframe the experience in a more positive way. Focussing on what you learnt from the experience and what lessons you can take forward to positively influence your life in the future gives you some powerful ju-ju to put into your Utility Belt of Life.

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