How To Get Over Regret + 5 Tips To Move Past It
Monday came out of the gate swinging. It was a tough one, but out of it came the following question. Would you change something from your past if you could, and if so, what would it be?
I’ve asked myself this more times than I can count in recent years. Maybe it has something to do with getting older... Maybe I’m in a more reflective space?
My gut tells me it’s both.
Regret has this funny way of popping up unannounced. I typically don't consider myself a regretful person, but I'd be lying to you, and myself, if I didn't admit that it's something I struggle with from time to time.
The feeling can be triggered by almost anything. A conversation that goes left. An unexpected reality check. A scroll past "that one post” on a social media feed.
In theory, it could be any of these things at any point in time. The catch is that some days I'm more sensitive than others.
In these little moments, insecurities I've put away or dusted under the rug are revealed to me in a flash. More often than not, I'm able to put a positive twist on whatever it is, but in those most vulnerable moments I can't help but simply feel that I’ve fallen short. Regret looks and feels different from person, but most often it's directly tied to something I feel I missed the mark on.
For anyone with a vision, moments like this always deliver somewhat of a blow. It’s that 'shouldacouldwoulda' mind racing feeling. Followed up by asking yourself in a panic, how do I fix this?!
The beauty of that question is that it’s the first step to moving past this place of regret.
In my experience, I've come to realize that there are just some situations that I'll have to deal with for an ongoing period of time --I’m doing my best to be okay with that. I’m a very solution oriented person, so it's especially challenging for me any time there isn’t a quick fix or easy resolve.
Nonetheless, I'm still committed to doing what I can with what I've got, and that’s where the 5 steps come in.
1. Reclaim Your Mind
Often times, our responses are a combination of the reality of what we’re feeling and experiencing paired with our imagination’s ability to take that situation and run with it. For those first few minutes, let yourself feel what's happening.
Be present. Don't run from it. Burying it doesn't actually make it go away. We’re just giving whatever that thing is the opportunity to pop up at potentially the most inopportune time at some point in the future, and it's also good to harness those emotions as motivation.
2. Create an Intentional Escape Route
The term "Rabbit Hole" is one of my all-time favorite expressions for a number of reasons, primarily because it’s tangible and intangible at the same time. I’ve obviously never been down one in the literal sense, but I can only imagine what it must be like, and that’s exactly what happens when we get lost in negative thinking and beat ourselves up mentally.
There are two parts to creating this escape route.
a. The ability to catch yourself as it begins to happen.
b. A guaranteed distraction to help you bounce back. My two personal favorites are meditation/prayer and music. If neither of those work, I’ll reach out to a friend or a loved one for a pep talk. It's essential to allow yourself to be vulnerable. Just be sure that you go to someone who’s most likely to lift you up and give you an overall boost in moral.
3. Get Productive!
I have this running joke I use any time I feel like I'm watching things fall apart haha, “We just need a win!”. This mentality has never never failed me.
Tie little wins to the bigger issue and watch as it diminishes that overwhelming feeling of regret, being stuck, or whatever it is you’re facing. Challenges seem far greater when the burden is too much to manage, but time and time again I've seen that more often than not, there’s nothing better than watching the fruit of your labor yield positive results.
4. Stop Being So Hard On Yourself
Is it important to be aware of the decisions you’ve made and your role in how you got to where you are? Yes. Absolutely. But replaying the scenarios over and over in your head in an effort to try to analyze your current situation doesn't do anything more than wear me down and leave me feeling helpless.
Be kind to yourself. Your words create your world, and you believe who you say you are.
So tell yourself you’re a superstar in those moments of weakness. Remind yourself of any past successes and times you've overcome a hurdle. Call out those big beautiful dreams every morning it you have to and why you’re the best person to make it happen. Push past whatever doubts and be willing to fight for you.
5. Create Boundaries
As much as I love all the feel good stuff, sometimes, we have to just take a step back and be honest with ourselves. Real change won't happen until you’re willing to commit to whatever the change(s) need to take place. The only thing worse that regret from a one-off situation is the guilt of knowing that it’s going to take a fundamental reset on bad habits or whatever it is that had me in this situation in the first place. To be fair, sometimes the things we regret come from situations we feel were unavoidable, but when it comes to the things we have control over, that’swhere boundaries come it.
If you spend too much on credit cards, and you want to be debt-free, stop using your credit cards, and use cash only -whenever possible.
If you know that relationship is toxic and affecting your health, don’t feel bad for cutting that person off. Protect your peace.
If you know you’re addicted to social media, delete the app and make of schedule of time slots where you can enjoy it guilt-free.
I could go on and on, but if nothing else, my main point, is set yourself up to win! Believe in the beauty of your dreams, and if you get knocked down, you get knocked down. It happens to all of us. The key is getting back up.
Sending so much love y’all’s way. Writing is therapeutic for me. I needed this post, and I hope there’s someone out there who could use a little boost.
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