How to Overcome Serious Regrets
1. Determine what your regret really is. Do you regret something you did? Something you didn't do? Something someone else did or did not do? A circumstance beyond your control? It is important to step back from the feelings of regret and identify exactly what the regret is.
2. Analyze the regret and how you look at it. How does it make you feel? Is it based on facts? Are your feelings distorting what really happened or making it worse? Is this confusion limiting you in your current relationships and objectives? Are you trying to be perfect or change future events when that is not possible? You may also regret a situation over which you had little or no control, or a situation that you assume would have happened if you had chosen differently. Taking a good look at how you're thinking - and identifying possible fallacies in your thinking - is vital to working through regrets, but it takes time, effort, and usually some outside help.
3. Accept the circumstances. There may be responsibility for yourself or others. Recognize the responsibility, not blame, as well as the consequences of holding on to the regret.
4. Grieve for your regrets. When we feel regret, we are feeling sadness, anger, or whatever other feelings we first had for a situation - even though the experience is past. Allowing yourself to experience these feelings with the intention of moving forward can help you stop revisiting them over and over.
5. Forgive and make amends. If there is something that you can do now, do it! Apologize for your behavior. Breaking limiting behavioral patterns empowers you toward productive patterns. "Fix" whatever you can. Forgive yourself and others, and be compassionate toward everyone involved. If you find it helpful, use prayer or meditation to seek insight, courage, strength, forgiveness and peace.
6. Recognize what you have learned or gained. When you find yourself thinking of the regret, turn your thoughts to the things you have learned and the opportunities that are now yours - even if they are not what you would have preferred. There is always a lesson even in pain and sadness. Look for the lesson and focus on it instead of what might have been.
• Writing about your regrets, feelings, and frustrations can help a lot as you seek to identify and analyze your regrets. Putting your thoughts into written words can clarify them in ways that will astonish you. Writing also takes a regret out of your internal emotions and puts it down where you can study and find ways to get past it.
• Talking to a trusted friend or family member can also help you identify fallacies in your thinking and give you the opportunity to sort through your feelings instead of merely experiencing them inside yourself.
• Visualize yourself acting and doing things as you move forward and leave your regrets behind. Use the techniques of visualization and self-affirmation to help you through the steps.
• Seek out groups or a coach in order to exercise your behavioral patterns. We didn't come this far alone; so take advantage of the greatest tools available. Life coaches and group therapy (oft times called 'gyms') are a wonderful way of celebrating human teamwork.
• The most important thing to remember is that someone else may be in a much worse situation and -statistically at least - you are considerably lucky.
• Read the book, "How to Stop Worrying and Start Living" by Dale Carnagie. This is an outstanding book with a down-to-earth approach, and just reading it will make you start to see that no one has a problem that is insurmountable.
• Do not minimize the regret. Some regrets are devastating to those involved, but even the most serious regrets can and must be integrated in order to leave them in the past and live happily in the present and future. Accept it as it is and do not make it bigger or more powerful by dwelling on it.
• Discovering the source of your regret but not modifying your behavior to avoid the situation in the future will lead to repeated regrets, possibly of greater intensity.
• Avoid depressing music
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