Releasing Regrets

By Liz Adam
Life Coach

Life Coach’s Corner

Every human being who is honest with themselves has at least a few things they’d like to be able to change about things they did or didn’t do.

Being strong enough to admit it when we’ve blundered or missed something is an awesome character quality. Clear, honest and humble is a perfect recipe for happier relationships, higher quality work, and better life management.

Regret starts off as a very healthy reaction to disappointing or hurting someone, making a wrong decision that can’t be changed, or perhaps saying or doing something we later realized we shouldn’t have said or done. Even if the mistake is unintentional, a sense of regret is a sign of healthy self-awareness.

Regrets can get tricky when they begin to create negative thoughts and emotions, and can become very problematic when we can’t find a way to admit, accept and then release them.

Beating ourselves up over something we can’t change never ever helps and almost always hurts not just ourselves but usually others as well. The heavy feelings that regrets produce can make us a downer to be around. Also, the judgment and anger we feel inside ourselves often seeps out at someone else. This just adds to our yucky feelings of regrets.

If we have trouble dealing with past mistakes, the fear of having even more regrets to carry around can keep us from making clear decisions or trying new things if we’re not completely sure they will work.

Naturally, we hate the feeling of being unable to change something that has hurt us or others. However, until someone invents a magical time machine where we can go back in time to undo or re-do things, we need to learn how to release regrets so they don’t weigh us down and hold us back. Unreleased regrets can steal our joy and drag us down to low emotional places, where we’re actually more likely to make more mistakes and create even more regrets.

Dealing with regrets is a broad topic that can’t really be covered well in just one column so stay tuned for next month’s piece that will share some more thoughts and ideas on releasing regrets.

In the meantime, especially if you are a perfectionist, remind yourself every day that you are a human being and that every human being makes mistakes. This doesn’t mean our mistakes weren’t mistakes. It just means accepting the fact that we aren’t able to live our lives perfectly, as much as we’d like to.

As Pittacus Lore has pointed out, “We don’t have to be defined by the things we did or didn’t do in our past.”