Regrets have a bad reputation. Whatever you do, they say, don’t have any regrets.
Even Edith Piaff’s famous song, Je ne regrette rien, boasts about not regretting anything.
Over decades, we have been conditioned to aspire to the ideal of living life without having regrets.
After all, regrets can be painful and sometimes soul-destroying. They can cause bitterness, resentment, shame, guilt and no doubt other undesirable emotions.
But what if regrets are designed to make you feel those uncomfortable feelings, so you can learn, make amends, heal and grow?
The trick is not to stay attached to the emotional turmoil remorse can cause.
Regrets are good for you, when you recognise and allow them to help you make positive changes in your life.
Having regrets is not a sign of weakness or “low vibes”.
They are expressions of your shadow, and your inner teacher is flagging them up for you to acknowledge and process them.
Regret is the result of pause and reflection, taking time to review a situation and gain wisdom from it.
Without regrets you would simply continue and make the same mistakes again.
Regrets can be an empowering force on your life journey, especially when you explore their root cause.
They can create turning points, shake-ups and even new opportunities.
Perhaps they have arisen from your lack of knowledge, fears, beliefs or behaviour.
On the other hand, they may have been the product of other people’s actions or expectations.
Regrets also tend to pop up relating to past experiences that can no longer be changed.
That’s when we all wish we had done things differently, but we also know that hindsight is a wonderful thing and only helpful when we apply its lessons learned in the present and future.
Looking back and reflecting on an event with regret helps us realise that we did the best we could at that time and as circumstances allowed.
Remorse can be the catalyst for radical change and transformation by alleviating or redeeming past actions that cannot be undone for the benefit of others.
Regrets are like bereavement; if you keep avoiding the pain and discomfort associated with them, you will continue to live in denial rather than processing them into something positive.
Regrets can also be pesky reminders of past experiences or action you would rather forget, and they keep resurfacing until you have made peace with them.
We feel the grief associated with remorse, but we also deserve to be happy again.
Questions to ask:
- What is causing my regret?
- How does it make me feel?
- What does my regret teach me?
- How can I do things differently next time?
- How can I turn regret into relief?
- What positive action can I take as a result of my regret?
- What beneficial qualities am I developing/utilising as a result of my remorse?
The bottom line is, it’s okay to have regrets. It’s human. We make mistakes.
Lighten your emotional load by practicing joy, gratitude, forgiveness and patience while processing regret.
Regrets are part of your life journey and who you are. Rather than trying to ignore them, let them teach you and help you grow.
Regrets will always stay with you, but you decide how they affect you.