The say is true for regret; all that looking back begins to distort one’s memory. It is the sorrow, guilt, self-loathing or other pain we feel in regret that clouds our memory.
One of my favorite teachers, Neville Goddard, once said, “Do not waste one moment in regret, for to think feelingly of the past is to re-infect yourself.”
Ouch, I do not want to be “re-infected” with anything except joy. And I’m sure the same is true for you and for most of us.
Another powerful statement about the negative impact of regret was made in a Psychology Today blog by Joachim I Krueger, Ph.D. He said,
The regret-prone person is at risk of
periodically re-activating his own misery.
This “re-activation” of unhealed pain from past events is what happens when we go down the slick slope of regret.
The important thing for us to remember is that regret doesn’t change the past. Nothing can; it is over; there is no magic rewind button for our lives.
Regret doesn’t wipe out our sorrow either. Only allowing ourselves to grieve if we need to and then forgive and release the past can bring us real healing.
It’s always okay for us to feel what we feel. Feelings are messages, after all; they tell us what is really going on inside; they tell us when something is right or not right for us.
Rueful or regretful feelings that keep looping back into our awareness year after year need to be dealt with. That’s how we find freedom, wisdom, peace of mind, and creative options for our life.
Here is a quick 3-step formula for dealing with regret.
1. Be honest with yourself about your feeling of remorse or regret. Acknowledge how you feel without any self-judgment.
2. Say to yourself, “I cannot go back and change this. I can stay stuck here in this memory or I can move forward with a little more wisdom.” (Repeat this statement often if needed until you really get it
3. Do just one thing related to your regret that will move you forward in your life today. It can be as simple as recognizing what you have learned.
It’s not quantum physics to move from regret to a higher resolve, but it can feel like a quantum leap of happiness when you decide to move beyond the past.