“I’ve got a bad case of the 3:00 am guilts – you know, when you lie in bed awake and replay all those things you didn’t do right? Because, as we all know, nothing solves insomnia like a nice warm glass of regret, depression and self-loathing.” ― D.D. Barant, Dying Bites
Does any of that sound familiar? When was the last time you had the feeling of sadness, shame, embarrassment, depression, or guilt about something you did or did not do and then wished you had made a different choice? How about when you’re planning ahead and have to choose what to do or what not to do? Did you feel badly about the choice you made when you decided to choose one opportunity over another, feeling anxious or guilty over the choice you made?
We all have been there, either regretting something done or something not done. It is when you beat yourself up over things beyond your control or blame yourself for things that happened, revisiting the event over and over again, that you can create an unhealthy negative pattern. Often the replay and emotion you create can lead to depression, anxiety, and difficulty focusing or you put yourself in a defensive position and anger.
Identify the feelings you have around regret. Listen to the language patterns you use. Do you hear words such as “I should have….” “I could have….” “I can’t believe I….” “Why didn’t I….. “I’m so sorry that I?” Notice your body language and your breathing. Are you hunched over, is your breathing shallow? Practice being aware of how you focus on past or future events and how this interrupts your present experience. Take note of your self-talk and set an intention to make conscious choices to change.
As you notice yourself using regretful language patterns that have a subtle tone of blame, know that this can change. Write the sentence down. Rewrite this so that it has a positive tone and brings your focus back to the present. “I acknowledge what happened and it is done. I am so happy for all the wonderful things that have happened to bring me to this present moment in my life.”
Catch yourself and forgive.
“You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.” – C S Lewis
- I am a good person and deserve the best despite my past
- I am human and make mistakes, and that is ok
- I have learned a lot from my past, and I am worthy of a bright future
Acknowledge at least three great things you accomplish each and every day.
“If you’re always looking back at what you’ve lost, you’ll never discover the treasure that lies just up ahead.” – J.E.B. Spredemann
- Today I heard a great song
- Today I laughed out loud
- Today I changed my regret into celebration
Sit up nice and tall, open up your chest to breath, feel the sun on your face and be present for one moment. You will feel good as you notice your life changing dramatically. It’s wonderful to catch yourself and adjust, isn’t it?
You have the power to make today better than yesterday. This is a practice of conscious choice and being present in the uniqueness of the moment. Take control, accept responsibility, and be aware that your perspective, response, and results belong to you alone. You know it’s time for even more.
If not now, when?
You don’t have to go there alone.