Regretting Your Past Robs Your Future

This is a guest post by Prudence Sinclair.

Hi, lovely you!

Can you believe it is February already?! I actually saw a couple of robins over the weekend! I don’t know if they are two robins that never decided to head south months ago or they are two robins that decided to come back early? Whichever the scenario, I am wondering if they regret their decision as it is COLD and SNOWY here in Massachusetts.

Regret is a disease I think is even worse than cancer because it is invisible and even harder to beat. Many people are living with the disease of regret every day. It’s eating them alive and robbing them of joy and potential and they don’t even know it.

Regret takes hold when we have a lack of self-compassion, which I believe most people have. It is far easier to forgive others for their misdeeds toward us than it is to forgive ourselves when we’ve done things we shouldn’t have or have not done things we should have.

And when that regret creeps in, it completely takes over our life like an abusive partner. We may want to focus on things that are far more important in the RIGHT HERE and RIGHT NOW… we may even want to look forward to something coming up on the horizon, but our regret won’t let us.

It instead enslaves us, keeping us stuck in the past, keeping those negative ruminating thoughts polluting our minds.

Regret is torture, plain and simple. And the only one who can rescue you from this abuse is YOU!

How Much Time are You Wasting?

The thing with regret is, it steals our life out from under us. When you spend countless hours each day, week and year regretting something from your past, you are literally wasting that time on something that CANNOT be changed. It’s like feeding dollar bill after dollar bill into a vending machine that is empty of all food and beverage items. Yet there you stand, feeding your money into the machine and never having anything come out. You could go down the street and spend your money on an actual meal!

If you have been spending your precious time on this earth regretting something(s), you are wasting your life, quite literally. And let me tell you, when you face your own mortality, you TRULY recognize how short and precious life is.

How to STOP Regretting

Here are some ways you can begin letting go of regret so you can begin to fully live. It’s never easy getting out of an abusive relationship. You have got to commit to the process and recognize that you and your precious life are worth it. I know this is easier said than done. I’ve been there many times in my life and it takes great courage to step out of yourself and recognize how special you are and that YOU deserve the best life. Stop worrying about what life will be like when you have moved on…you will be just fine, better than fine! Think GOOD thoughts and see yourself smiling and happy in your future life. Take baby steps. Taking it one moment at time will help you build the courage you need to see this difficult time through to the end. Never, ever give up.

Ask a different question

Many of us spend our time asking, “What if I had done this instead?” or “What if I hadn’t have said that?” It’s time to start asking a different question. “What if I stay stuck in my life, filled with this nagging regret? What will I miss out on?”

Empower Yourself

Right now, your regrets hold power over you. It’s time to turn the tables and get your power back. This means speaking up when those regrets start chattering in your head. Choose an empowering statement to shut those voices down. You might say something like, “That was then, this is now” or “I’m not the same person” or simply “NO! Be quiet!”

Make Amends

Sincere apologies are magical; they can make regrets completely vanish. Whether it’s to yourself or someone else, offer a sincere apology for whatever it was you said, didn’t say, did or didn’t do.

Get a New Perspective

You are human. And if you’re like most human beings on this planet, you do the best you can do. We all make mistakes. ALL of us. Mistakes aren’t crimes – they’re lessons.

Help Others

You can do a lot of good with your regrets if you put them to good use and help others. Take the lessons you’ve learned and help others so they may avoid the same mistakes you have.

Realize You Have Changed

The very fact that you regret something you said and did or didn’t say or do shows that you are not the same person you were back then. This is cause for celebration, not scorn.

Live in The Now

Practice meditation, which will help you stay in the present moment. Meditate on your regrets and forgive yourself and others who have hurt you.

Have a Fair and Balanced Trial

When I was young and needed to make a decision, my dad would say, take a piece of paper, draw a line down the middle, put PRO’s on one side and CON’s on the other, and start writing. I can’t tell you how many times in my life I have done this exercise, and it always empowers me. Thank you to my dear dad for this simple but great advice.

Make a list of things you’ve done in your life. On one side of a piece of paper, write down all of the things you regret. On the other side, write down all of the things you are proud of. This is NO TIME to be modest or humble. Be HONEST and write everything down. Now compare lists. Chances are your list of regrettable acts/words/deeds is a small percentage of that other list. Why are you focusing on the bad?

Life is precious and it doesn’t last forever. I encourage you to end this abusive relationship you are having with yourself so you can live your BEST LIFE YET!!

Prue’s Wednesday’s Wisdom: “Always remember how precious YOU are and reward yourself with good thoughts and kindness.”