So, last Tuesday, one day after my hubs and I celebrated our 17th year of marriage, I asked him if there was a topic that he would like me to cover during one of my Transformation Tuesday Facebook Live Virtual Goal Setting Workshops. He thought for about 2 seconds and then replied, “regret.” I think people need to know how to handle things that they regret.
I could have made that mean sooooooo many things…I chose to write this blog about regret instead.
I asked myself if regret is a useful emotion. I thought about it all week. Here is what I think.
With the exception of a few emotions that I put into the “Indulgent Emotion” category, most emotions serve a purpose. They give us the polarity of life. Believe it or not, if we didn’t know sad, happy would not be nearly as happy.
I put emotions like overwhelm, self-pity, self-doubt, resentment and confusion in the category of “indulgent emotions.” Why? they serve no purpose but to keep you where you are, not moving forward and showing up as your highest and best self.
What about regret? Is there an upside to regret? Well, it depends!
If we use the regret as a launch pad that propels us forward and helps us decide to do something that does serve us, then I think that regret can be useful. However, if we use regret to punish ourselves and beat ourselves up and keep us showing up small and keep doing things that we regret, then no, it’s an indulgent emotion.
I don’t think that you need to feel regret in order to make a different choice now.
Sometimes we keep looking to our past and arguing with it like it should have been different or we wish that we would have done something different. We think that if somehow it would have been different then we would be different…total waste of time.
Personal story…I stopped talking to my dad for several years. In the last couple of years we have enjoyed a wonderful relationship. Of course it is human to want to get into a space of regret. Regret for the time that passed between us when we were not talking and didn’t have a relationship. Regret for harboring bad feelings, not seeing him for years, not being the one to foster his relationship with my daughter. Soooo many reasons to regret.
If I use that regret to continue punishing myself and beating myself up, it takes away from the relationship that is available to me now, the one that I am having now.
Living in regret robs you from the possibilities of future experiences.
My daughter and I always talk about this saying, “everything always works out just the way it should.” It gives us comfort even when we are experiencing a difficult moment, even when we don’t understand how or why.
Byron Katie teaches ‘What was meant to happen did, it was always meant to happen that way. How do we know? Because it did.”
When we argue with the reality of what is, we suffer.
If you are living in regret right now, if you are looking at your life and punishing yourself because you wish you would have lived your life different, made different decisions, shown up different, been different, I want you to ask yourself these questions:
- Is there an upside to doing that?
- Have you found a purpose to doing that?
- Is it serving you in any way?
- If it isn’t, how could you think about your past in a way that would serve you?
- How could you think about your past in a way that you don’t blame yourself but you use your past as a way to create a better future for yourself?
Do not let your regrets take the place of your goals and your dreams for the life that you want to live and experience.
Regret doesn’t have to be present for you to make the changes right now that creates the future that you want. You don’t have to beat yourself up about your past in order to create a better future.
So stop regretting and let’s get goaling!!!!