Posted on: November 25, 2008 Posted by: Nicole Harding Comments: 2

Everyone will experience feelings of regret at least once in their lifetime. It is actually impossible to live without any regrets. If you try to do so, you may as well not take any chances or truly live in the first place, which will often end up in a regret anyways.

Regrets can be small, like eating a little bit too much chocolate, or large, like choosing the wrong major in university or dating someone longer than you should have. Either way, there are a number of things that you can do in order to accept and overcome your regrets until they do not bother you and interfere with your life. Follow these suggestions to help you get rid of your regrets today.

1. Identify Your Regrets.

Before you can work on your regrets, you have to identify what they are. Some of the most popular regrets deal with education, parenting, career decisions, and romantic relationships.

After you identify what your regret is, try asking yourself “why do I regret this?” Understanding your regret is the building block that will make moving forward much easier for you. Try writing your regrets down on paper to see if this helps you understand your regrets.

2. Lessons Learned.

Even though it may not seem like it to you, as you might be focused on the negative feelings surrounding your regrets, it is possible to experience productive regret. In fact, all regrets can be productive so long as you do not continue to dwell on the negative feelings. It is okay to experience negative feelings for a short while, but do not hold onto them.

Perhaps you regret eating seconds during the holidays last year because you gained a little bit too much weight, from your point of view. Now you know what your limit can be, as you often have an idea of when you should have stopped eating, even if you don’t realize it at first.

Your regret could be more serious, like staying too long in a relationship or compromising something that you regard as critically important for the other person, such as having kids or getting married. Regrets like these can be productive in that what you want in life is more clearly identified.

Perhaps you didn’t even know that you wanted something before you started experiencing these feelings of regret. Now you what steps you should take to get what you want, or to recognize the signs if you are close to repeating your mistake.

3. Things You Can Control.

Sometimes to overcome your feelings of regret, you will need to realize that there is only so much you can control in your life. It is human nature to regret things that we cannot actually control. The only way to overcome this kind of regret is to take a step back and accept that there were elements of the situation that we couldn’t control.

If there was nothing that you could have done, why worry about it?

4. Evaluate Your Thought Process.

Sometimes when you have a regret, you engage in what can be called negative or catastrophic thinking patterns. What this means is that you think about the worst-case scenarios that may take place as a result of your regret. In most cases, the chances of your catastrophe actually happening are either impossible, or at the very least extremely unlikely.

When you have a regret that you are really focusing on, try and think about the way in which you think about this regret and identify whether or not it could be considered catastrophic thinking. The main thing that you have to do to correct this type of thinking is to simply be aware of it. Doing that alone should be able to greatly reduce the amount of regret that you feel.

5. Talk About It.

Find someone that you trust who is willing to listen, and simply talk through how you are feeling about the particular situation or decision that you are regretting.

If you are comfortable, you can go into great deal about exactly why you regret this particular thing, and maybe this person will have some advice for you. If not, the act of talking through a regret to a listening ear does have a great effect on getting rid of the regret, as explaining your feelings of regret can actually spark your own ideas that you would not have seen previously.

You can also choose to talk about your regret with someone directly involved in the situation or decision, but be aware of how they are feeling as well so that no one walks away any more hurt than may be strictly necessary.

6. Get Some Perspective.

Sometimes when an individual is too closely involved with a situation, they cannot see it as clearly as they may need to. Particularly with regrets and thought processes that go along with it, it is quite important for you to take a step away from the situation if you can and try to get some perspective.

Think about talking to a third party, like someone who has no involvement with the decision or situation you are trying to examine. Ask them how they would consider the events that happened. If it was someone else, what would you tell them?

7. Move On and Live Your Life.

In the end, the best and most important thing that you can do when experiencing regret that you wish to get rid of it is to just keep moving forward with your life. As cliché as it may sound, everything will actually work out in the end, even if it doesn’t do it in the way that you were expecting.

Focus on the future and the opportunities that it holds for you. Think about the relationships you have, whether they are familial, friendly, or romantic, that bring you joy and positivity to your life that will help you get rid of any feelings of regret. At the very least they might reduce them to the point where they no longer interfere with your life on a regular basis, because as said earlier, no one can live without any regrets, unless they simply take no chances and don’t truly live.

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