Having Regrets?

By Donna Kater


From time to time, you may feel some regret about events that happen in your life. Feelings of regret, numbness, disbelief, sadness, and anger are all “normal”, especially after life-changing events. Elizabeth Kubler Ross wrote “You will not ‘get over’ the loss of a loved one; you will learn to live with it. You will heal and you will rebuild yourself around the loss you have suffered. You will be whole again but you will never be the same. Nor should you be the same, nor would you want to.” I think this applies to any event that changes your life. You will not be the same, but you can feel whole again, and rebuild yourself.

To move past potential roadblocks in life, it’s important to examine the event, consider your part in it, and avoid “shoulding” on yourself. Some people spend the rest of their lives in the CouldaWouldaShoulda Zone. If I’d only…, then… You fill in the blanks. Your self-esteem suffers when you have regret, because the thoughts or actions that you regret are usually not consistent with being a “good person”. In other words, if I’m a good person, how could I have done or thought such a thing? The more you ruminate this way, the more your present life is affected. You are no longer living in the present, you are being controlled by the past, or more accurately, by the story of the past that you tell others and yourself.

My friend and mentor, Jack Canfield, talks about a powerful concept: E+R=O. The Event (E) plus your Response (R) equals your Outcome (O). The event happens – E, then we respond with our thoughts and feelings – R, and the result is an Outcome – O. Change our thoughts and feelings, and we will have a different outcome.

Get this into your head right now: Regret is optional. It’s optional! Maya Angelou said, “We do the best we can with what we know, and when we know better, we do better.” If you’d known better at the time, you’d have acted differently. So, learn from the event, forgive yourself, let go of the regret, and move on. </p><p>Regrets hold you back and are quite unproductive! Take charge of your thoughts, and you will transform your future!

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