Does this BS ever happen to you?
There you are, going along with your day, minding your own business and it hits you.
The whiny, super-annoying feeling that tells you that no matter what you did during your marriage, it just wasn’t good enough and you should have done better.
That emotion is called regret. And it’s annoying as hell.
Today, we’re going to dive into this emotion, its dangers to your ability to move on with the rest of your awesome life, as well as…you guessed it…doing a quick exercise that will show you how to minimize your regret and instead focus on something productive—moving the hell on.
Regret sucks because it forces you to stay in the past.
Moving on from your divorce hurt requires you to move forward. It requires you to take a long hard look at yourself, the current obstacles you face, and what you can do to overcome them and get to where you want to be in life.
Focusing on that stuff is pretty damn inspiring. It puts the control back in your hands and propels you to keep going, learning to be grateful for what you have right now, in addition to looking forward to the future with excitement and confidence.
But regret doesn’t let you do those amazing things. Regret is like that nasty gum on your shoe, or when somebody spills something sticky on linoleum and you unknowingly stand in it, and when you try to walk away, you find your shoe is stuck. That nasty stickiness is the thoughts you deal with. The ones that say…
“Oh, I wish I would have known how my spouse was feeling before it was too late…”
“If only I could have convinced my ex to go to counseling…”
“I should have known what was going on behind my back…”
Those thoughts are regrets, and do you notice something about them? Look long and hard at those statements, or about similar thoughts you have on a daily basis.
See the pattern?
They are all things that have occurred in the past. And…
Regret sucks because it forces you to worry about things you cannot control. Forget that!
It’s easier to sit and stew and worry about things you cannot change, thinking somehow that thinking about them will actually make you feel better. But it actually makes you feel worse because when you waste time and emotional energy on the “Coulda Woulda Shoulda” events of the past, you continue to be hard on yourself and judging yourself for things you cannot change.
Regret wastes your time…and your future. Time to kick it to the curb! Image via AZ.
And that’s what regret loves. It loves it when you continue to worry about things you cannot control. Because regret wants to keep you miserable, stuck in the past, and unable to move on. Regret cannot function in an environment of positivity, of action, of forgiveness, and mindfulness.
And the sooner you create that positive environment for yourself, the sooner regret will quit bothering you.
Escaping from the Prison of Regret…it’s easier than you think!
The next time those regret thoughts hit you, do the following.
Pinpoint the regret. These thoughts are easy to spot. They usually start with the following:
“I wish I would have done this…”
“If I had only done this action, then this other action would not have happened…”
Nip that regret thought in the bud because it’s not helping you move forward. This process is easier than you think!
“I wish I would have done this…” STOP. I need to remove “Would” from my vocabulary. The fact that I did not do something is just a fact. It is not a judgement and it is unfair to judge myself on something I did not do in the past because I cannot change the past.
“If I had only done this action, then this other action would not have happened…” STOP. I do not know if any certain action was guaranteed to happen. That goes back to not being able to change the past. The only thing I can control is what I think in the present and how I plan for the future.
Channel that energy into something you can control…like where you are now, and what you want your future to look like. How are you going to kick regret in the ass?
I will not worry about or waste my time thinking about what I did and not do in the past. Whenever I am triggered with these thoughts, I will replace them with a simple action I can take now to make my present good and my future even better.
When I start to think “Oh, I wish I would have done Action XYZ (whatever that action is)” I will replace that thought with “Today, I am going to do ABC, (a positive and kind action that propels me forward, not dragging me back to the Prison of Regret.”
It’s as easy as that. 🙂