Looking back with regret stops people moving forward. We get stuck in the past.
But often we think we’ve made a more serious mistake than anyone else will have picked up on. We’re so involved in our own lives, we assume others will think constantly about this mistake we’ve made.
But is it really as bad as you think or are you blowing it out of proportion?
- If it’s something you’ve said, is there a real consequence?
- If there’s something you want to do to make things right, do it. Then you’ll know you’ve done all you can, and you can let yourself off the hook.
- If you’ve done what you can to make amends and you are still worrying, then the only person suffering is you.
- Ask yourself: do you have any proof that your actions caused a disaster?
- If you are bound up in regret, stop and check in with yourself. Stop the thought. Take a deep breath, notice where you are in the moment. Right now, everything around you is fine.
- Remember: you can control your thoughts. You can choose to respond rather than unconsciously react.
- When you think about what’s gone wrong, focus on how you’d want to do it in the future. Break the pattern. Take a moment to visualise how you’d have done it differently. Reflect, and you will become more aware of your tendencies.
- When you think about something you’ve done or said, there’s a physical sensation that comes just before you open your mouth to speak. Think: what was going on in my body? This should become your alarm, telling you to behave differently. It will help you become aware of what you’re doing, which is the best way to avoid making the same mistake again.
- Remember, you made the best decision you could at the time.
- Regret keeps you stuck, weakens your creative potential and drains your confidence. You become worried about making any decisions at all. If you start out in the wrong career, you’ll be in a position to discover the right one. You don’t have all the answers at the start. Ultimately, it’s about moving forward and taking action.
The Right T-Shirt: Write Your Own Rules And Live The Life You Want by Jessica McGregor Johnson is published by Uniik Books and costs £11.50
Read Love, loss and recovery - moving out and moving on by David Head on LifeLabs