Overcome Serious Regrets

Saturday, August 8, 2009

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. 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.

Writing about your regrets, feelings, and frustrations can help understand why you did what you did and how you can learn from your mistakes. Talking to a trusted friend or family member can also help you identify fallacies in your thinking and give you the opportunity to sort through your feelings instead of merely experiencing them inside yourself. Visualize yourself acting and doing things as you move forward and leave your regrets behind. Seek out support groups or a counselor in order to discover how you can get relief from regret and guilt.Keep your situation in perspective. Remember that anything you've done is totally forgivable, even though it may seem unforgivable to you.

Take comfort in knowing that we've all made really huge mistakes! You're not alone. If you only knew all the skeletons in people's closets, you'd know that we all do things we seriously regret at times. But, this too will pass (as they say).
Should all else fail and leave you lacking the will to attempt anything ever again, just leave everything behind. Make every day a new beginning of your life, and past mistakes mere handicaps that you are born with. Your focus from now would be to shape your life into what you want. Whatever your past mistakes are, they can be redeemed and used for good if you are truly sorry. The mistakes you made can be used as teaching tools, to prevent others from making the same bad choices and getting into the same trouble you did. If you're truly changing you can work with teens and be a mentor. Sharing your story with others, with the goal of teaching, can be very healing. The rough things you went through, even if they were your fault, can even help others who have already made mistakes they regret, because you can be a friend to them which will understand how they feel and not judge them.

If you are feeling guilt or regret because someone abused you or sexually assaulted you, realize that you are not to blame! But, make sure that you tell the police (and your parents if you're young) so that person who hurt you will be stopped from hurting you and other victims. Do not over inflate the regret. Accept it as it is and do not make it bigger by dwelling on it. Don't rehash the event over and over by continually telling others what happened. You could actually become "addicted" to the sympathy! Discovering the source of your regret but not modifying your behavior to avoid the situation in the future will lead to repeated regrets, possibly of greater intensity. If at any point your regret turns into severe depression, withdrawal, self-harming, or suicidal thoughts, please contact a doctor, psychologist, counselor, psychiatrist, suicide hot line, mental health phone line or somebody that you trust completely. You are not alone!


chiel said...

Nice article. I had some regrets on the past, but my perception changed coz I've learned they became my valuable lesson.

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