Life is a series of choices. You make decisions based on the information that you have on hand but sometimes, you have to make choices based on what you’d like the projected outcome of your decision to be.
There is always a chance that you’ll end up regretting the choices that you do make. That’s just a part of life, and most things aren’t permanent – so never let it keep you from pursuing your goals.
You Never Have to Live with Regret Permanently
Regret can make you feel disappointed in your choice, but it can also make you feel disappointed in the end result of your choice. When regret hits, it can hit in your personal or in your business life.
Sometimes both and even at the same time, especially if you’ve tied your business to your personal life. Regret is an emotion that’s rooted in negativity. You have a negative feeling about something or you experienced a negative reaction or you’ve had a negative end result to something that you’ve attempted or done.
While regret is just a feeling, it can fill you with sadness, grief, loneliness, anger or a host of other emotions. Regret can weigh you down. It can cause people to wish that something hadn’t happened or that they hadn’t made the choice that they did.
You might have heard people say they wish that they could rewind time and undo what they did or wishing that they could start over again. What makes regret feel so heavy and sometimes like you can’t come back from something you did or didn’t do is that you feel like it’s a choice set in stone.
You feel like what’s done is done and you can’t fix it. You believe you don’t get a chance to do anything differently. But feeling that way is normal and it’s actually a side effect of regret.
But regardless of how regret makes you feel, you have to realize that you can change course. You don’t have to live with regret or the things you did or didn’t do that brought on the feeling.
You can start right where you are in this moment and you can make a change. You can change your personal life and you can change your business life. If you can’t undo something, then you can just create a new path.
One of the biggest reasons that people end up living with regret is because they feel like they’re stuck. That the choices they made are permanent ones and no amount of altering the course is going to change that.
It’s not true. You are never permanently stuck with any decision that you make or any action that you do. So if you’re dealing with regret about something and thinking the situation or decision is too big to change, it’s not.
If you think it’s too expensive and that it will be too hard, it’s not. You don’t want to live your days filled with regret when you can easily just make the decision to change whatever it is you don’t like.
Regret Is a Normal Part of Life and Serves a Purpose
Just because you feel regret doesn’t mean that something’s wrong with you or that something’s wrong with the actions you’ve taken. It just means that for you, the decision or the action isn’t the right one.
Feeling regret for a personal or business reason isn’t something that should stop your progress. The feeling is there to protect your future. It’s not something to be used to hound you or beat yourself up over stuff that happened or that you did in the past.
But instead of learning from the feeling of regret, what most people end up doing is letting it beat them up over and over again. They use regret to blame themselves and that’s a bad thing – not just because of the negativity of constantly beating yourself up – but because the power of regret is being wasted.
Regret has the potential to be used for good. It can help you have a better future and end up happier and more fulfilled. The emotion, though seen as a negative one, actually has a lot of positive qualities.
Everyone does stuff that they wish they hadn’t or they look at their choices and feel like they wish they could have a do-over. Your regrets should never shackle you to one decision or to one action.
It should be used as a tool to help you reflect on what led you to make the choices that you did. And by reflecting, that’s not beating yourself up. It’s looking at what you did to find the lesson that’s hidden with the regret.
When you look for the lesson, you gain the take-away moment. That gem of knowledge that allows you to learn from it in a way that can help you in the future. No regret is ever wasted because it teaches you something.
It could be something like knowing you should never do something again because it was painful. Or it could be that you learned a way that’s not going to work in your business so you know not to go in that direction again.
If you feel regret, you should be glad about that because it means that you have the ability to know that what happened or the decision you made was not the right one for you.
You know that something isn’t connecting with your authentic self. You see that what was done, or the decision you made doesn’t measure up to what you want for yourself. You recognize the lesser value of the regrettable action or decision and it teaches you not to settle for anything.
Something else that regret teaches you is that you’re on the wrong path. It’s a signal to stop, to rethink and turn around or try something new. And believe it or not, regret is an experience that will never leave you poorer.
The emotion enriches your life because it allows you to gain the knowledge and experience you need to have the next time you’re faced with a decision or action along the same lines.
Two Kinds of Regret and How to Deal with Them
There are two kinds of regret. You need to know what they are so that you recognize them, but you also need to know how to deal with them. These regrets are feeling remorse for stuff you did as well as for stuff that you didn’t do or action versus inaction.
But keep in mind that you can always fix whatever your choices were and you can pursue whatever it was that you never did. Regret for the things that you did is one that a lot of people are familiar with.
This one is the most often recognized because you feel the heavy impact from it. Sometimes these can be errors in judgment or regret from poor decision making. What you have to realize about regret for the things that you did is that those mistakes really are building blocks that are part of creating the whole you.
Mistakes or wrong decision making are part of the foundation of a life. Everyone makes them, so you’re not alone there. The problem that goes along with regret for the things that you did is if you reach a point where you refuse to learn from it.
You won’t let it teach you so that you can grow. Let your regrets be your teacher and not your end of the road toward success. Keep in mind that regardless of what happened or what you decided that turned out to be wrong, you can always bounce back from it.
You deal with it by starting over – by learning from it and using that knowledge to be better. To do better. The other kind of regret is all about stuff that you didn’t do, but you wish that you had.
You wish that you could rewind the clock and have a do-over. If you were given a second chance, you just know that you’d go for it. What you don’t realize is that the stuff you didn’t do can haunt you if you keep looking back at it.
Look at it as something that you didn’t take action on, but you know that you made a mistake by not doing so. You have to let it go. No one can move forward in life looking in the rearview mirror.
You only have the future in front of you because the past is already gone. You might be at a place in life where you’re questioning the road not taken, the opportunities that you feel like you missed.
What you must remember is that that the choices you made in the past were made with the knowledge and experience that you had at the time. The thing about this kind of regret is people tend to have an all or nothing kind of fatalistic mindset.
They feel they had a choice and didn’t do it and now they’ll never get the opportunity again. But that’s not true. Opportunities and chances do come back around and you may have a second try to make something happen.
Deal with it by recognizing that nothing you missed is ever set in stone and seeing what you can do to make a choice in the future that will present you with the same or similar chance for what you didn’t do.
When Regret Surfaces, Take Time to Analyze It
You might feel regret and not fully understand the meaning behind or it just how powerful a tool it can be to shake things up or change direction. If you’re someone who’s dealing with regret, don’t just let it flit through your mind, give it a second and then move on.
Pause and examine the reason that you feel regret. Ask yourself why you’re dealing with it now when it may not have bothered you before. Look into specifically what you feel the regret about.
What area of your life or decision is it that the regret is pointing to? You want to understand why you feel regret because otherwise, it can hinder your progress as well as your self-confidence.
If you feel regret and it bothers you emotionally, then not knowing why you feel it can impede your healing in that area. Once you understand why you feel regret, look at the root cause.
You can do this by thinking about what could have turned out differently than the way it is now.Some people experience this in their personal life, some in their business life and sometimes, it’s a little of both.
You can spend a lot of time looking back at what might have been. While you might think this is a waste of time, it’s not. As long as you don’t get stuck in the regret, you can learn from it.
It can show you the roads taken or the roads not taken to where you currently are in your life. It allows you to reexamine choices as well as mistakes. Doing that can make you more confident or give you the insight to tread more carefully in the future.
Look at the regret that you feel as parts of a whole. Take the time to break it down. Regret never just shows up. When you feel it, there’s always a reason behind it. So search the regret that you feel to find the redeeming quality that it can have on your life.
When you do that, it’ll help you be able to identify something that you may need to change. Regret can often points us to the exact spot where you need to do something different.
Not taking the time to examine why you feel regret and what it’s all about is a mistake.
When you don’t look at it, you can lose numerous chances to grow or the opportunity to gain a new sense of direction.
It’s throwing the baby out with the bathwater simply because if you don’t analyze it, you won’t understand the regret. And you’ll have missed the opportunity that it could have afforded you. Remember that regret is never wasted if you allow it to be part of your personal or professional growth.
Don’t Plan on Avoiding Regret “Someday”
If you’ve never dealt with regret, then there’s something that you need to know. It’s not a comfortable feeling. It can make you feel really bad about some areas of your life – like causing you to look back and feel like you missed out on what was better for you.
It can make you look at where you are right now and doubt that you’re where you need to be if you regret the decisions that you’ve made that have led you there. No one really enjoys dealing with regret until after they’ve gone through it and dealt with it.
Then later, they realize that facing it has made them stronger and given them a sense of peace – like throwing a weight off their shoulders. There’s a problem that a lot of people have with regret.
They haven’t developed it yet, but it’s on the way based on the inaction of their lives today. More people than not tend to put things off. They push it to the back burner where it becomes the someday goal.
Someday they’re going to reexamine that thing. Someday they’re going to pull it from the recesses of their minds and take it on. They’re going to make a decision. Take action.
That starts with a good intention, but the follow through for someday has a poor track record and it usually ends up sitting on the back burner for good. The problem with someday is that it never comes until it’s too late and then you end up dealing with regret someday in the future over the stuff that you didn’t do today.
Many people don’t realize that someday always affects today. There are several areas of life that tend to fall into the area of someday. It’s losing weight. Leaving a job you hate.
Getting out of a bad relationship. Getting a handle on finances. Going back to college. Sometimes it’s pursuing a business. People who want to start their own business have a tendency to put this in the someday category.
The timing never seems right today. There’s no time. Or no expertise. Or no money. Or no idea how to get started. These people don’t realize that going after a business they’d like to do can stay stuck in the someday pile until they take that first step.
For other people, it’s learning how to balance life and work. Someday, they’re going to make it better. Someday, they’re going to have the time to make it all work smoother. Someday they’re going to give the people in their lives or their career more attention.
The problem is that someday is a wide open bag just waiting to collect your future regrets. If you know that something should part of your future or if you have a dream or a passion for something that you want to do, don’t wait. Avoid the someday regrets and just jump in and get started right now.