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Don’t Dwell on the Past – Tips for Dealing with Regret

Category: 

Loving & Caring Thoughts

Posted On: Jun 21, 2016

Tips for Dealing with Regret

Anybody who tells you that they have no regrets in life is probably fibbing a little bit. Everyone makes mistakes and if given the chance would probably do one or two things differently in their life. In some ways, having some regrets is healthy because it means you are identifying mistakes that you have made and don’t want to repeat. However, people with a forward-thinking attitude don’t dwell on the mistake itself. They would rather focus on how to move on and make their life better because of that knowledge gained from the experience. Here are some tips for overcoming regrets and turning them into life lessons.

Forgive yourself. This is maybe the hardest part of dealing with regret, so why not try to tackle it first? Forgiving yourself is sometimes so much harder than forgiving others. Think about the last time you made a mistake and someone forgave you. It doesn’t have to be a major transgression—maybe it’s as simple as spilling a drink or food at someone else’s house. You felt bad, but the moment someone told you that everything was okay you probably had some sense of relief. Forgiving yourself is tricky because you hold the power to both forgive and accept forgiveness. Just keep thinking about why that person forgave you. One reason they probably forgave you is because dwelling on the mistake would be a waste of time and energy. You could relieve yourself of this burden in the same way.

Accept that the past cannot be changed. If you’re having trouble with the last step, maybe this tip can help you. Dwelling on the past isn’t helpful because every time you revisit those memories, the facts remain the same. In fact, if you keep rehashing the same things over and over again you might start convincing yourself that things really did happen differently, which could be unhealthy because it might lead down a whole new path of regrets. The sooner you accept that the past is in the past, the sooner you can move on and try to learn from your mistakes.

Accept that nothing is permanent. While you can’t change the past, keep in mind that the past is something that only exists in our memories. Even as we document every moment with our phones today, those digital files are still temporary when you consider the tiny period of time for which they have existed compared to all of eternity. When you accept that nothing is forever, you can find ways to live in the moment and do what you know is good right now.

Focus on what you can control. When you focus on the moment you’re living in right now, you are devoting all of your energy to things that are within your control. You might find that short guided meditation sessions help you learn how to focus on the moment. As soon as you relinquish your desire to do things differently yesterday, you can begin to focus on how you are going to do things better tomorrow.