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How To Let Go Of Regrets From The Past Year And Feel Hopeful

Holding onto regrets keeps you looking backward, not forward. It's time to stop looking behind you, let go of your regrets, and move ahead.


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TERRI MARIE KOZLOWSKI

7 days ago | 8 min read

Holding onto regrets keeps you looking backward, not forward. It's time to stop looking behind you, let go of your regrets, and move ahead.

Regret. The one who got away, the job you didn't accept, the argument you wish you hadn't gotten into because you were angry, the investment you didn't make, the money you didn't save, the move you wish you'd made, and on and on and on... it seems to be a reality of life.

Life is predictable in that manner; there will undoubtedly be some decisions you make along the way that you wish you had made differently. Regrets can be major—choosing the incorrect career—or minor, choosing a dress that you truly don't feel confident wearing. You may experience everyday ones or overarching ones that simply appear to influence everything you do.

Although regrets are a natural part of life, they sometimes outlive their usefulness. Why? Because the desire to achieve something can serve as a springboard for development and progress, but it can also trap you in a loop of negativity and even hopelessness. You have regrets when you are disappointed and saddened by what may have been, or when you wish you could go back and amend a decision.

Often, your regrets are accompanied by a feeling of shame. You try to avoid these feelings at all costs since they are so unpleasant. Or never-ending remorse sticks with you forever. In the latter scenario, remorse could follow you around and keep you from moving forward with your life. For the sake of your mental, emotional, and physical health, learn to let go of regret.

Regret doesn't remind us that we did badly. It reminds us that we know we can do better. ~ Kathryn Schulz

The Effects Of Regrets

When you refuse to recognize your missteps, regrets can be damaging. Because guilt and embarrassment are unpleasant emotions, you suppress them. You end up feeling sorry for yourself and don't want to think about what happened.

Or perhaps you can still clearly recall the circumstance but cannot go past your remorse. Regret leads to a variety of psychological issues. Rumination and recurring negative thought patterns can cause tension, worry, and despair. Researchers discovered that causing self-blame boosts pro-inflammatory activity and feelings of shame and guilt. Inflammation is a symptom of many illnesses, including arthritis, cancer, and heart disease.

It's beneficial when you look back at your past decisions that you later regret. You learn from your mistakes and develop because of contemplation. You refine your decision-making to avoid making the same missteps again.

One more benefit of regret is that it can help you become your best self. People dealt with regrets more quickly when they failed to fulfill their obligations than when they failed to fulfill their objectives and aspirations. As a result, regrets about their ideal selves remained. People were more inclined to lament about not living up to their full potential and being their authentic selves.

Regret should be handled swiftly, and you shouldn't hold on to it. People spend their entire lives regretting what they didn't do and what they should've done. Hey, man, you did what you did. ~ John Mellencamp

Steps To Letting Go Of Regrets

Regret by itself is not harmful; in fact, it might inspire you to take action. However, regret can become an albatross for some people. This is comparable to traveling down the road while continuously scanning your rearview mirror to see what you have left behind. Driving without paying attention to what's around you is risky, not to mention that you don't get to appreciate the beauty of life as you go past it.

It could be time to let go of the regretted experiences and move on to something new if regret has become crippling for you and isn't inspiring you to look forward. The only thing a person has to work with is their current state, and ideally, their future self. The only action you can take is in the present, thus your commitment should be to consciously live in the now. But how can you divert your attention if it has become firmly fixed on the rearview mirror?

Think about taking these actions to stop looking back, start living in the present moment, and work on your future.

Own your actions and choices.

Indeed, whatever occurred happened. You made the incorrect decision, said the incorrect thing, and moved on the incorrect path. It's finished, whatever it was. You won't always make wise decisions or decisions that are in your best interests. Sometimes you lack the knowledge. Sometimes thinking prevails over emotions, and other times, your gut takes precedence. You might not have enough time to go through your options or you could feel under pressure to decide. Whatever it is, the fact remains that not everyone can always make the best choice possible.

Own it and respect yourself despite it. You cannot go back in time and change what has already been written. Weep. Lament. Scream. To release the feeling, do whatever you need to (without endangering yourself or others), and then let it go. It's crucial to keep in mind that you are much more complex than just one regret.

Make it a rule of life never to regret and never to look back. Regret is an appalling waste of energy; you can't build on it; it's only good for wallowing in. ~ Katherine Mansfield

Learn from your regret.

Attempt to assess what happened objectively. Why did you act in the manner that you did? This is not the time to criticize oneself; rather, it is the time to evaluate what happened. By attempting to understand what went wrong, you can discover a lot about your decision-making process. Do you need to gain information more effectively the next time? Do you require extra time to consider something? Are other people influencing you improperly? Make a note of what needs to be done differently the next time you have to make a choice.

Regret is a crucial component of goal-setting because it gives you a chance to reflect on how you might prevent a repeat of the situation in the future. So, instead of listing all the things you could have or should have said or done, think about what lesson you've learned and how you've changed. Although you cannot undo the past, your emotions may offer sound guidance on what you should do differently in the future.

Regrets only apply when we don’t learn from a situation. No sense looking back, look forward with new knowledge and no regret. ~ Catherine Pulsifer

Make amends.

It's appropriate to offer an apology and make amends when you can. You can phone your family, apologize for being MIA, and promise to see them when it's safe if, for example, you regret not seeing them while you had the chance. Plan an activity that might help offset your regrets. For instance, your children may not visit you as often today since you didn't spend enough time with them while they were young. Consider helping at a children's home. You didn't get the career you had always wanted. What about picking up a love of your own and pursuing that instead? Life is not a straight line, nor is it a dualistic world. What nuances of gray may you add to your life—even if they don't change your regret—to make it more meaningful than it is now?

Stop fretting about past decisions. They have provided valuable wisdom. Go forward without fear or regret. ~ Paul Martens

Outline your desires in writing.

Regret concentrates on the things you wish you had done differently. The truth is, you are unaware of whether things would have turned out better if you had chosen otherwise. So, concentrate on what you want rather than what if you had, whether you regret a relationship, profession, financial decision, or educational experience.

Although you cannot go back in time, you can think about other things. So this career isn't the greatest one for you; how do you describe what you want now? What should you do now? How can you build the life for yourself that you want? Your focus will start shifting from the rearview mirror to the windshield as you glance forward.

There is no need to lament the bygone failures. Instead, concentrate on things that you can change and let other things take their own course. ~ Robert Gallagher

Focus on the present.

Pay attention to your senses. Get involved with your surroundings. Commit to being fully present with whatever is happening and pay attention to things you haven't noticed previously. Then pivot by engaging in the present and sharpening your awareness of your surroundings. You won't be able to concentrate on your regrets in the rearview mirror if you divert your attention to your surroundings since the mind cannot focus on two things at once.

Disrupt your routine and try doing new things. You can avoid ruminations by breaking up the monotony. But there's also the advantage of finding little ways to experiment and surprise yourself, which can help you trust in your capacity to learn and grow. And there's a chance to put some distance between you and regret when you think there's still an exciting life for you to live.

It's better to look ahead and prepare than to look back and regret. ~ Jackie Joyner-Kersee

Forgive yourself.

Regrets are a sign that you have personal standards for your behavior, but part of being human is occasionally failing to live up to those standards. You probably have to forgive and accept yourself when this happens. Remember that people can only act based on the facts available to them at the moment. Try not to criticize your choice if you made the best choice you could with the information you had.

While processing and forgiving yourself for any perceived slights will not instantly make you alright with whatever you regret, you can start to let go. Self-forgiveness entails establishing a boundary between your imperfect deeds and your overall character. You can only forgive yourself if you accept you are a good person and that everyone takes missteps because everyone is fallible.

There is nothing I've been through in my life that I regret, or that I would go back and change. I feel like everything that happened–personally and professionally–I went through for a reason, and I learned from those things. ~ Sheryl Swoopes

Moving Forward Without Regrets

Learning to forgive oneself is the best method to increase your sense of self-worth and decrease stress. The ability to accept that you are deserving of love, respect, and tremendous achievement is known as self-forgiveness. The past cannot be reversed, but the actions you take today will determine your future. Be deliberate while making new, better choices that could start to create space for compassion and a happy future. Spend some time for yourself and your healing.

Driving with your focus on what you've left behind will inevitably result in an accident. Get your eyes back on the road, take in the surroundings, and pay attention to where you're going.

We all make mistakes, have struggles, and even regret things in our past. But you are not your mistakes, you are not your struggles, and you are here NOW with the power to shape your day and your future. ~ Steve Maraboli

You may not move past your regrets if you have fixated on them. Do you need help to look back over the past year and release any regrets? Are you looking for support to see the lessons you are to learn? Do you want a strategy to help you create an extraordinary life? If you believe you cannot proceed alone, think about seeking my coaching services by getting in touch with me, at TerriKozlowski.com, and we can put together an action plan for you to let go of your past regrets.

To discover how I learned to forgive myself, you can do so by reading my book, Raven Transcending Fear, available on Amazon or you can go to RavenTranscendingFear.com for more information.

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TERRI MARIE KOZLOWSKI

Life Coach, Author, & Host of Soul Solutions Podcast

Native American Terri Kozlowski is a certified life coach, blogger, the author of "Raven Transcending Fear," and founder of Soul Solutions. She specializes in empowering women by teaching them to set personal boundaries, reframe the stories they tell themselves, overcome their fears, and push past their limiting beliefs. Part memoir, part self-help guide, Terri’s book is a raw and personal story of diving deep into childhood trauma, dealing with the terror before ultimately getting comfortable with fear and transcending it. On her successful podcast and YouTube channel Soul Solutions, she delves into the soul and offers bite-sized takeaways for controlling our egos and emotions. Terri holds a BS in Social Science, has written for NewsBreak and Medium, appeared on over 70 podcasts and has spoken to groups from 5 to 600. She has helped over 1500 people with her hard-earned wisdom. Terri lives in Woodstock, GA, with her husband and pampered chihuahua Lelu.


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