While the concept of “no regrets” can be a powerful philosophy, the reality is that regrets can often seem crippling. That’s why it’s so important to overcome any remorse you may be clinging to and transform it into empowering life experience. It’s not always easy but learning to constructively deal with your regrets can be life-changing. Here’s how:
View regrets like pain
One galvanising way to deal with your regrets is to consider them in the same way you would physical pain. Pain is the body’s response to physical discomfort and is designed to alert the brain to danger and ideally, make it stop. Basically, pain is an intrinsic form of protection. Without it, the body may not be able to detect harmful situations and could fall victim to serious, if not fatal injuries. By acknowledging regrets in the same way you acknowledge pain, you’re empowering yourself with valuable feedback that can be used to safeguard your future self and make better decisions.
Learn and grow
Regrets are a poignant reminder that you’re human. While you can’t change the past, you can approach regrets with a proactive mindset. Take whatever you’re agonizing over and make a list of the ways you can learn and grow from this particular regret. Openly acknowledging and accepting your regrets gives you the strength and insight to apply any lessons you feel you have learned, without the self-hatred and negative feelings that are so often associated with regrets.
Challenge your inner voice
Regrets are often laced with negative self-talk and harmful internal monologues. Learning to recognise this inner voice and refusing to accept these adverse messages is an important part of overcoming regret. Instead, proactively challenge negative statements and replace phrases like “I can’t believe I acted that way, I am a terrible person” with mantras like “As a human I made an error of judgement, I will learn from my mistakes and do better next time.” This will help to shift your focus from the past to the future and will stop you from spiralling into a black hole of negativity.
Focus on gratitude
It may sound cliché but stepping away from your regrets and shining the spotlight on things you’re grateful for can be a formidable way to change your mindset. A great way to do this is by starting a gratitude journal and filling it with daily reminders of things you truly appreciate. This will force you to spend a small chunk of your day being positive, which can trigger a permanent shift in your mindset.
Apologise and forgive
A genuine apology, whether it’s to yourself or someone associated with your regrets, can be an effective way to move on. Resentment can keep you locked in a prison cell of negativity so why not free yourself from your own negative mindset and trust that moving forward, you will be stronger, wiser and more empowered.
Ultimately, learning to constructively manage regrets can be the key to turning pain, distress and ongoing remorse into self-love, inner peace and a hopeful future.