One of life’s hardest things to master is the art of moving on! We tend to relive scenarios when everything goes south. Why you stayed in that horrible relationship for so long? Why you quit your job? Why you invested all your money in that company? Why did I spend all my time in school or work instead of building relationships? It is, therefore, a fact that the “I wish I knew” phenomena is synonymous with making life-altering decisions. But does regretting your decisions really help you?
Why Regret Is Bad For You
We all have heard repeatedly that regret is bad for you. But how exactly does it affect you?
- Depression. Regret over time may cause you to become depressive. If you keep thinking about scenarios that you cannot change or control, this may cause you to become hopeless about life. Depression comes with its own set of complications, from physical to mental health.
- Hopelessness. Regret simply makes you think of all the situations in life that you have no control over, focusing on this may cause you to lose the meaning of life. This is one of the most dangerous things. Hopelessness leads to indifference and soon enough, you will end up losing all your sense of hope and become demotivated.
- Stalling in life. Regret is the opposite of moving on. If you do not harness your regret for good and use it as motivation, you may end up never doing much with your life. You will become scared of making big decisions and eventually, this will cause you to become stagnant at work, school or life in general.
Getting a Move on Life
The truth is that the only way to move on and fix your life is to make the conscious decision to forget. This means that regret should have no place in your life! But we are all human. Not regretting especially if your decision continues to affect your life is not a one-day affair. You should therefore not expect to wake up one day and just decide to “just forget and stop regretting”. You can, however, make a conscious decision to start on your journey to learn how to handle and move beyond your negative memories.
How do you do this? Here is a five-step plan to get you well on your way to learning how to handle regret.
Step One: Identify your Weaknesses and Mistakes
To understand what led you to make your mistakes, you must understand your weaknesses as a person. It is important that you acknowledge that everyone has weaknesses. What was your blindside? Who you were back then might have been the reason you made certain choices. You must, therefore, know what about you makes you susceptible whether it is being too trusting or too impulsive. That way you can know how to prevent it in the future.
Step Two: Accept Responsibility
This is the hardest part of them all. Taking full responsibility for your decisions is not as easy as it sounds. This may bring about more and more feelings of regret. However, it is only when you acknowledge that you, and only you, control your decisions is when you will learn to be cautious. It is only when you accept that “I messed up and now I accept the consequences” is when you can move on.
Step Three: Note Down The Lessons Learnt
What are mistakes for if not to learn from them? Instead of spending days on end obsessing about what could have been, why not work to reverse the situation and use your mistakes as a teaching tool. Mistakes only mean that you have gained first-hand experience on what not to do. Mistakes should, therefore, build you and not destroy you! Take time to analyze your mistakes and see how you can fix them! You can even go ahead to become a trainer teaching people what NOT to do based on your experiences and life lessons.
Step Four: Find Ways to Adapt To the New Situation
Life is all about learning how to adapt to new situations. If you lost a lot of money or your job, learn to readjust your lifestyle. It is not easy but it is definitely doable! You can choose to use this opportunity to learn how to become better at adapting to different situations. Adapting is learning to not let your happiness be dependent on perfect situations. Learn to be happy when earning a six-figure salary and also when earning much less than that! Only then will you be able to handle regret in your life.
Step Five: Challenge your Thinking
You are what you think! If you think of life as an uncontrollable game, well then you stand to face some challenges. However, if you choose to see your mistakes and regrets as a cheat code to life, then you will always be a step ahead of everyone else!
Regret impedes peace of mind. You can look back and wish you had done things differently. However, dwelling on regret is very dangerous! You must learn how to turn your mistakes and regrets into success stories. This is the art some of the most successful people in the world today have mastered.
“To regret one’s own experiences is to arrest one’s own development. To deny one’s own experiences is to put a lie into the lips of one’s life. It is no less than a denial of the soul.”
I’m a nightingale singing sweet songs in the night!