Friday, April 16, 2010

Ways to Let Go of Regrets

“Every new day is another chance to change your life.” ~Unknown

You know the moment. It happens right after you realize you did something you wish you didn’t. Maybe you broke someone’s trust and now the guilt is overwhelming you. Maybe you compromised your job in some way and now you’re terrified your world will come crashing down.

Regardless of what you did, you can feel your anxiety like a stack of red hot bowling balls surgically implanted in your stomach. (Dramatic? Yes. Regret is rarely reasonable.)

It’s that dreaded good God, oh no, what was I thinking, why me moment when you think one of two things:

  • I did something I shouldn’t have and I might not be able to fix it.
  • I did something I shouldn’t have so I’m going to lose something important.

Both of those things might be true. In fact, they often are. Actions do have consequences. We do lose things—all through life. Nothing is permanent, not even the most secure relationship. But none of this has to be catastrophic.

Sometimes losing one thing opens you up to something else. It might be a lesson that helps you be more effective and happier in the future, or it could be a new possibility you never even thought to seek (like that dream you put off to work the job you just lost).

Or maybe it won’t benefit you in any discernable way right away—let’s call a spade a spade. Maybe you’ll wish you went a different way, grieve what you lost, and then eventually let it go and move on.

The point is you will eventually let go and move on. And because you’re a strong, smart, capable person, you’ll find ways to make this new direction meaningful for you. To make up for what you lost by gaining something equally important in the aftermath, whether it’s a new understanding of your strengths, a new idea of who you want to be, or a new opportunity to try again a little wiser.

It’s hard to think that way when you feel your dream job slipping through your fingers, or you miss someone who made your life wider than it could possibly be long. What’s important to remember is that  no matter what changes or slips away, you can still do something meaningful and fulfilling right from where you are.

That’s how I let go of regrets when they start overwhelming my sense of optimism and possibility. Need more ideas to let your regret fade away?

Posted via email from Ranjan's posterous

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