What good comes out of wishing you had done things differently?
Who says that if you had done things differently it would have made you happier?
Regretting… People are always scared they either, will regret things they have done or not have done in life. But isn’t that a huge waste of time?
To me, regret is something I do not wish to dwell on for too long.
Does this mean one can do whatever he/she likes and never look back or regret stuff? No, all I am saying is: live your life and as long as you do not deliberately harm yourself or others:
all experiences in life are just that:
When you’ve done or said something, and in hindsight you wish you hadn’t, all there is to do now is to evaluate why you would not do it again and then just never do it again. Nothing can undo what you said or did, no apologizing in the world will change the past, only your present and future actions will tell that you regret that past experience and therefor will never do so again.
When you regret not having done things in life (yet), what is keeping you? What of the things you’ve always dreamt of doing, can you start doing now? I understand that if your dream was to live in New York or to work in an African Wildlife Sanctuary, and you currently have a career and family in Europe, it may not be that simple to achieve that dream. Then I suggest two possibilities, and no, none of them is regret:-)
First you can do some research and see what is possible to achieve that dream. You’d be amazed by what can be done once you have facts and figures and you can discuss the pros and cons in a rational and documented way, and at the same time be considering everyone’s needs.
Secondly, when the leap is too big to take now, you can ask yourself: why do I want to live this dream? What do I expect from a life in which I would be living this dream? What do I really know about it? What am I seeking in living this dream? Once you go deep into your motivation, once you honestly look at what it is, you hope this dream will give you, you can write it down and see how else you could satisfy this need. Often there are many ways of fulfilling this dream. Once you know what you’re hoping to experience, you can look for alternatives that will give you the same experience, your dream will just be wearing a different jacket but the result, your feelings, will be the same.
Dreaming of a certain life most often is about
looking to experience a certain feeling in life.
Create a life, walk a path, where you can experience this feeling you’re seeking, without hanging on to a very specific outcome, without thinking your life must look a very specific way to make sure you have lived the ‘life of your dreams’.
Regret, therefor, is never the final answer to your call in life.
When you regret things you’ve done, you keep living in the past, which is a total waste of time as you can’t go back and do things differently.
When you regret, things you haven’t done yet, again, regret won’t change your life, only action will. Use this feeling of regret to make changes. You cannot prevent this feeling from coming up, just don’t nurture it. Acknowledge it, recognize it as a sign to do something now.
As my teachers dr. Sue Morter and her colleague Marci Shimoff, taught me:
No blaming, no shaming, no complaining.
No amount of regret for your own actions or inactions, no amount of ‘shoving responsibilities onto other people or circumstances’ will change your life. Only using the awareness, the insight those experiences have given you to take action, can. This can be to either:
realizing this dream was a pink cloud, an unrealistic vision of what you thought life should look like in order to be happy and thus, not worth regretting,
or it can be a stimulus to make a concrete plan to actually start taking steps towards realizing a different life, a life you dream of, a life that will fulfill your need to live as you.
Once again, it’s a call to take your life into your own hands. It’s all up to you*. You decide how you feel. You decide what you do. Let go of that feeling of regret, or rather convert it into your wake-up call to take action. Good luck and enjoy being in the driver’s seat of your life!
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*’The Trouble is: It’s All Up to You. The Good Thing is: It’s All Up to You!’, article by Katrien Degraeve