Regret is considered a negative emotion. It is defined as great sorrow or disappointment because of something that has happened, usually resulting in loss or missed opportunity. The mind distress that accompanies regret, if left unattended, can grow and fester. Leading to other negative consequences: poor self-esteem, distraction in accomplishing positive goals, and treating others badly.
If you suffer from any of those negative consequences, you know that they do no one any good. What if you could turn those behaviors into positives? You can.
Below are three ways to replace your negative responses with positive ones:
Regret as a Spiritual Path
Most people ascribe to a higher power in some form or another. The higher power most people believe in always wants the best for you. Our individual paths may be fraught with challenges but if we keep in mind that every challenge is under the control of that higher power, than we know that whatever happens, happens for a reason.
Face each challenge with gratitude. Remember: whatever happened did so with your best interest at heart. Do what you can to make amends for any wrongdoing on your part and learn from your mistakes. Allow your faith to grow through the process.
What you see as the worst of outcomes in any given situation may not be that at all. We tend to look at events in our lives through our own narrow focus. You may not have all the facts now or in the future. There may be reasons beyond your current knowledge that makes the incident of your regret the best possible outcome for all concerned.
Reframe what happened. Look at the reasons why you made the choice you did. Explore other possible outcomes. Were there extenuating circumstances you were unaware of. Or facts that did not come to light previously. Reframe your experience considering those factors.
There is no more powerful a teacher than mistakes. Look over your past. You will see growth and changes in yourself that you might not have accomplished without the benefit of learning from mistakes. This is because pain and embarrassment cause us to think twice before making that same error again. Then, forgive yourself. We all make mistakes.
Empathy is also a wonderful instructor. When we set our mirror neurons to work looking from another person’s perspective, we gain wisdom through that person’s experience.
Take an outside view. When you take yourself and your emotions out of the equation, you will see it in its purest light. Given the circumstances, would you judge someone else taking that action as harshly as you do yourself? Doing this allows you to glean the lessons learned while keeping judgment at a minimum.
Regret can incapacitate our lives in destructive ways. It can also help us improve our lives. Use these aspects of regret to make those improvements in your life.
Copyright 2021, Monica Nelson