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Sunday, June 28, 2015

Do you have regrets in your life?


What is it that you regret? How is your regret affecting how you live your life? Is it getting in your way? Is it keeping you from moving forward? Is it keeping you stuck in a cycle of feeling bad and beating yourself up over it?
We all have done things in our lives that we wish we had not done. We have hurt people, we have done bad things, we have crushed hopes and broken hearts. Some of our actions were intentional and some were unintentional. Most of the time we can forgive ourselves, make amends and move on. But what do we do when we can't?
I believe regret is a useful emotion in the short run but not in the long run. In the short run it can urge us to apologize and work things out. That can be a very good thing. If we carry that regret and live it over and over again it can be a bad thing. It can get in the way of our moving forward with our lives and living out our purpose.
It is important to learn to let go of the hold regret has over us. It is important to forgive ourselves. That does not necessarily mean that we forget what happened. It does mean that we move beyond it and that we don't let it govern our lives.
If we give in to it and let it be in control there is no way we can make up for our indiscretion and go on to live a useful life. And, that is what we need to do. We are no good to anyone if we dwell in the past, in something that we cannot change. It is over. We cannot go back and redo it.
What we need to do when we are stuck in regret is to gather up all of the energy we are focusing on being regretful. It is probably a lot of energy, especially if we are letting our regret rule our life.
Now create a goal that will be meaningful to you. Chose something that will be fulfilling, that will bring light and joy to you and to others. Make that goal as clear and compelling as you possibly can. Imagine it in full color, sound, three dimension - make it real.
Next focus all of your energy on it. Create action steps to take you closer and closer to making it come alive. When your energy flags gather it up and refocus on your goal. That is what is important and that is what will allow you to live in the present and into the future doing good things.
Lynn Banis PhD