Regrets… I’ve had a few. ~ Frank Sinatra
While watching “Dancing With the Stars” – and while I often say I have no regrets about my life – I suddenly realized that I do have a regret… I regret that I never took the time to take dancing lessons with my former wife. She loved to dance. I never thought that I danced very well. Dancing lessons may have kept us together… or not. Anyway, I’ve forgiven myself for that. And I still remember.
Age and regret have a close relationship. As we get older, we tend to rack up regrets and think about what we might have done differently. A severe case of the regrets, that is, feeling overwhelmed by the coulda-shoulda-woulda of life – not only robs us of energy and imprisons us in the past, it can also make us sick, depressed or worse. Please don’t allow regret to ruin you health and your life. Continuing to live with regrets really sucks!
I’m certain that most people have regrets. There is no such thing as a life without any regrets. The burdens of the past can keep you stuck. Something that goes with regret is often guilt. Those who say they don’t might need to dig a little deeper. Regret can have a powerful hold on us. Regret is not something that most of us dwell on, however, we all pretty much have things that we might have done differently, especially from their younger years. Regret causes us to become older than we are because of worry, stress and anxiety. It inhibits our personal growth.
I took a brief survey of a few of my friends and the reasons for regret seemed to fall under the following regrets:
1. I regret that I started smoking – One third of those who say their partner smokes admit they regret choosing to be in a relationship with someone with a cigarette habit.
2. I regret not focusing my having better health
3. I regret losing touch with friends
4. I regret drinking too much and too often
5. I regret marrying too young
What is your regret? How would your life have been different if you’d made another choice?
“Let me break it down: Something happens. You react, you make a choice, you take an action. Then time passes. And you think about what happened. You analyze it, obsess over it, and talk ad nauseam about it with your friends. You continue to gather more information and knowledge. Then you take all this awareness and information that you have NOW, and beat yourself up because you did not know it THEN. It is totally unfair and unreasonable to take what you know now and use it to beat yourself up for what you didn’t know then.” ~ Christine Hassler
We’ve all made some pretty awful mistakes! You’re not alone. Some of our regrets may be secrets that we have never told anyone else. It is not wise to live with those regrets. You can change some of the reasons, others no. Some are missed opportunities that don’t give us second chances. Actions can be taken to ease the feeling of regret.
“As human beings we tend to avoid pain whenever we can, and thinking back to missed opportunities and bad choices is a pain most of us simply don’t want to deal with. When we regret things, we acknowledge that we’ve screwed up, that we’ve either damaged something beyond repair or missed an opportunity that will never come again. And so we feel like crap, and many times we try to find something to numb the agony, like food, or TV, or web surfing – or tragically, by hating ourselves for our choices and feeling paralyzed by the pain. But coping by distracting yourself isn’t coping at all – and in fact will only open the door to more choices that will give birth to more regret.” ~ Dave Navarro
First of all, I suggest that we need to make peace with ourselves. Admit what you didn’t do, what you lost, or what you got that you no longer want. Stop obsessing about it. If you pretend you’re not truly upset, you’ll never get past it. The key to getting over regret is learning how to release yourself from its grip. I believe that self-forgiveness is the key. You can apologize for any harm you may have caused others if they are still in your life. Otherwise, forgive yourself. When you can forgive you will finally understand that anything you’ve done is totally forgivable, even though it may seem unforgivable to you. True forgiveness must come from the heart, and this can only happen if the heart is ready to forgive. Having compassion for your old self who made the decision is another way to move past regret.
“Stay away from what might have been and look at what will be.” ~ Marsha Petrie Sue
The next step is to stop revisiting the regrets of your past. Liberation from regret is 100% possible! I would suggest that learning from the experience will help you let go of the regret once and for all, and “you” must make sure you never do what caused the regret again. Regret feels awful and feeling awful does not support the co-creation of an awesome life. Once you forgive… it’s time to simply let go and move on.
Copyright © 2013 – Larry James. This idea is adapted from Larry’s books, “How to Really Love the One You’re With: Affirmative Guidelines for a Healthy Love Relationship,” “LoveNotes for Lovers: Words That Make Music for Two Hearts Dancing” and “Red Hot LoveNotes for Lovers.” Larry James is a professional speaker, author, relationship coach and an award winning nondenominational Wedding Officiant. He performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere. Something NEW about relationships is posted every 4th day on this Relationships BLOG.
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