Living with regret is like walking through life dragging a heavy ball and chain around your ankle – it will do nothing but slow you down. Regrets keep you focused on the past, which robs you of the present and tricks you into believing there is no future.
These 7 keys will help you take another step toward freeing yourself from the weight of regret, beginning to move forward again, and creating real change in your life.
1. Accept the past, no matter how you feel about it. Remind yourself that feeling guilty can’t change what has happened and dwelling on it won’t keep you from making future mistakes. In fact, the stress of regret may actually increase the potential for mistakes.
2. Admit to yourself that you aren’t perfect and that mistakes, even big ones, are a normal part of life. Forgive yourself and move forward. Remember that new successes help fade the memories of past failures.
3. Whenever possible, make reparation, or in other words, do what you can to make it right. If it requires an apology, apologize. Sometimes circumstances prevent you from making amends and you need to work on accepting that fact.
4. Redeem the experience by identifying what you learned from your regret. Experiences, even negative ones, are what often prevent you from repeating self-defeating behaviors.
5. Stop living according to the standards that others may have imposed upon you. Identify, and be true to, your own values, dreams, and interests.
6. Let go of the things you believe you have lost or will never have because of your mistakes and focus instead on the new possibilities the future holds in store for you.
7. Remind yourself that your past does not have to determine or define your present or future. Although your decisions can carry irreversible consequences, every day brings new opportunities for making good decisions.
“When one door closes, another opens, but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.” – Alexander Graham Bell
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