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Self-Compassion Series: Do You Live on Regrets?

By Dianne M. Daniels | attitude

The past is the past – so why do many people insist on dwelling on it? There is nothing you can do to change what happened before – nothing you can do to change what you have done. So move on – there is no point in being bound by your past. If your feet are mired in the concrete of your past, you cannot move forward, and staying stuck in the past will weigh you down.

Focusing on your regrets is using up energy unnecessarily. It can also be a source of stress, and in extreme cases can lead to other negative behaviors like drugs and alcohol. The worst part is, as you are focused on the negative, you leave no room to find a way to change it while you are IN it. The bad behaviors will then continue indefinitely because what was done prior will always replay in your mind and occupy your energy.

If you change the pattern and concentrate your energies on the present instead, you won’t have time to focus on the past. Use your regrets only as learning experiences – for instance, analyzing what happened and what led you to act in that way so that you can promise yourself you won’t repeat those negative actions in the future. But that should be all your regrets are used for. No more dwelling on them or beating yourself up for them – employ a pure refocusing of your energy to productive use.

I understand that some past experiences are going to be hard to shake. Losing a close family member can have a devastating effect on you and may require more focused and intentional work than simply trying to move on. In such extreme cases, you may need to seek out some help from professionals. Try to do this as quickly as possible so that those bad behaviors mentioned before, don’t take hold. If you get caught up in those, you will not only have to deal with your past experience but with a current challenge, like an addiction as well.

Sometimes, past experiences can have a way of creeping back into your life, even if you have been successful at keeping them at bay. If this should happen, try to find ways to downplay them by moving forward in life. That is the key. Again, focusing on positive emotions and actions you are experiencing and welcoming now and making a difference in your life will go a long way in keeping those regrets in the past.

Sometimes, it can help to write about your experiences that are causing you regret. This way, you can refer to it in the future, should similar circumstances arise. You can record how you were able to get through it and what you did to move on. Just having that reminder can be enough to ensure that you don’t make the same mistakes twice. This is where journaling can be valuable, both in providing a place for you to record your experience, and in having a reference for future use.

One final thought, it’s equally important not to focus too strongly on the future, either. While planning for the future is a good idea, you still want to have an enjoyable life right now. Some people put everything off to be ready for a future they may never see – it’s also important to live, love and rejoice in your current situation, right now, right where you are.










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