With eyes centered on the future, instead of dwelling in the past, it is an essential life skill that leads to a happier, healthier lifestyle. Let go of things you regret in life, and learning to turn those into actions for your future can help you become more proactive, feel more satisfied, and achieve more of your goals.
No matter our age, we all have a certain amount of regret. Perhaps it is about a relationship or a missed opportunity. Regardless, looking back on the past and judging your actions is easy because you have the benefit of knowledge now that you lacked at the time.
We all make mistakes, but you do not need to let your errors defines you as a person. Looking back on the past with regret prevents you from living your life in the present and making the most of every opportunity given you. If you are prone to dwelling in the past or focusing on regret, consider these strategies to assist and anchor your firmly in reality and turn those regrets into action.
Build Faith in Yourself and Dismiss Regret
Your current self is a different person than the one who made that regretful decision or mistake. You aren’t the same, so you should have faith that you made the best decision you could at the time.
You didn’t have the same motivations as you do today, either. Trust that you made the very best decision for yourself with the knowledge and capability you had at the time, and let it go. Even if you did make a mistake or didn’t use all the facts at your disposal at the time, you have learned some valuable lessons These lessons learned help move you forward, so it wasn’t a total waste, either. Don’t let your regrets undermine your confidence in yourself or stop you from moving forward.
Remember that Mistakes Mean You are Trying
The only people who don’t make mistakes in life are those who aren’t doing anything.
Mistakes mean you are taking chances, making an effort, and trying to do what you think is right. If a mistake-free life is your goal, then you can’t ever try anything for the first time or learn anything new from this point on in your life. Now, that doesn’t sound very enjoyable. Mistakes are life’s teachable moments, and we gain from these errors in judgment.
The important thing is that you learn from your mistakes and apply those lessons in your future. But, making mistakes is unavoidable, and to try and be perfect all the time will lead to even more misery and regret.
Don’t Create False Narratives About Your Past Regret.
It is effortless to fall into the trap of romanticizing the past. You are more likely to do this when you are already down about your current situation. You often fantasize about past relationships that didn’t work out when your current situation is unhappy.
When you find yourself slipping into those thoughts, consider what is going on in your present to make you feel this way. It is where you can focus your actions. The other trap is that we often only remember the good things about our past, choosing to forget the negatives that informed our decisions and activities at the time.
It would be best if you remembered that you made the most authentic decision for yourself at the time based on the reality you were living. Period. There is no fantasy world of “could haves” where your regret-filled narrative of today was entirely accurate.
Live for Today
Recognize that life is too short, worrying about what could have happened in the past. Making the best choice you can today is the healthiest choice for you to live your life to the fullest, so let go of those regrets and start making actionable decisions to help you reach your goals.