Regrets, disappointments and disillusions are nasty things. They make you look back in anger and they can potentially pull you in a whirl of negativity and self criticism that some people might find difficult to come out of easily. Every time you look back and you say “I wish I had done that”, “I wish I had thought about that”, “How didn’t I know?”, “How didn’t I see?”, “I wish I had never met x or y person”, you feel more and more depressed, more and more disappointed with your life and with yourself, you allow anxiety to creep in. You feel inadequate, you feel stupid, you feel like you could have done better, known better, been smarter, and so on. You might feel regret about doing something (maybe having made the wrong choice), or about not doing something and having lost an opportunity.
Either way, your attitude towards trying times impacts your growth and can lead to one of the following outcomes: to growth, to stagnation or to what I call implosion.
When life is hard and things don’t happen according to plan and people hate you and you feel like you could hate yourself for this or that, the way you handle regret and disappointment defines you as a person and can change your relationships and your whole life.
You can feel sorry for yourself for years to come, cry, blame others (cause it is easier than blaming yourself) and basically become depressed and sad. Well, maybe not always in such an extreme way, but you get my point.
You did not take the best decisions for your business and you lost your money… Your wife/ husband left you for someone else… Your girlfriend cheated on you with your best friend… Well, these things happen and it is painful, it is not easy. Some situations are much more harsh and difficult to deal with than others… But many people have the tendency of becoming overly critical during these times. They beat themselves up, they start seeing their situation as being final, they lose hope. They can even pick up nasty habits or addictions and they can even become depressed or suicidal. And all because of a lack of vision of what could come, an incapability of looking at the whole picture.
Feeling like a victim, becoming overly critical towards yourself, or blaming yourself and others is not going to change anything. There is always light after darkness. Take your power back! If you feel like you need help, ask for it! Call a friend, call a therapist, call someone who can support you. Never feel ashamed for your breakdowns! We all have them, and asking for help is never a sign of weakness, it takes courage.
You can ignore the whole situation and basically reach the conclusion that you are above all this mess and you did nothing wrong. Well, congratulations, you are super cool! You also did not learn anything.
Of course, feeling good about ourselves in every situation is great, but going down from the pedestal and looking at things objectively is a more constructive approach. You might be the type of person who, for some reason, is stuck in a fixed mindset and cannot be self critical. You do see where others go wrong, but you cannot judge your own actions objectively.
Maybe you have been hurt many times before and you run away from vulnerability. Maybe your parents taught you that you are perfect and can do no wrong. Either way, people like this become stuck at a certain level in their evolution, defensive and completely numbed in the face of existence. Don’t become one of these people! You can do better than this.
You can lick your wounds and analyze what happened.
You apply constructive criticism to whatever you’ve been through.
You allow the experience to educate you, to help you grow, to help you become better.
You understand that the events in your life do not define you.
You ask yourself questions… What did you do wrong, where were you at fault? How can you do better next time? How and when can you start again?
More than that, you understand that when someone or something goes out of your life, it leaves space for someone or something better.
You have that optimism and that insight to understand that only those things, only those situations and only those people who are in tune with your energy, with your path, with the things you really want to create in your life, will remain in it. The rest will constantly disappear one way or another.
You feel empowered because you are able to see beyond your hurdles. Anyone who has ever watched or even heard of the Paralympics (which are Olympic games for paralytics) know that there are people out there who live with disabilities of all kinds and still manage to do great things because they focus on what they have and on what they can do, instead of focusing on what they don’t have and what they can’t do.
So don’t look back in anger! Look ahead with joy!
Be your own cheerleader! Cheerleaders don’t stop supporting the team just because they are loosing… When you are sad, when you suffer, there is no point to bring even more sadness and suffering in your life by dwelling on what happened or didn’t happen. Take some time and feel your pain, go through the pain, learn the lessons, but then remember that life happens in the present moment and right now, in the present moment, you are powerful and you can turn things around for yourself.
I once read somewhere that the worst regrets we can feel are those we have about the things we did not do, and this is exactly the kind of regret people have before they die. As someone who has been in a near death experience, I can tell you that this is true. We don’t look at our lives and go “oh, I wish had never married John, what a waste”… No, we think more in terms of “I wish I had traveled more”, “I wish I had had the courage to do that thing I wanted to do”, “I wish I had told that person that I loved them”…
Don’t let that happen to yourself! Everything can change starting now.