The Meaning of Regret
If you are like 99% of the world’s population you have hurt someone else or lost something important or gone left instead of right. The mistakes you can make are as different as the people who make them. And if you’re like another equally large portion of the world’s population you have regretted some of those mistakes. This is a challenging feeling to face because it makes you feel so powerless. Unless you are the genius creator of a reliable, working time machine, there is nothing you can do to change the past. What to do? Well, a good first step would be recognizing that regret has nothing to do with the past. Maybe this doesn’t make any sense but just hear me out.
Let’s go back to basics. What do bad feelings even mean? Here’s a clue. They are not giving you information about the world out there. They are giving you information about how you are running the inner world of your thoughts. Someone says something mean to you. Bam! You blame them for the bad feeling you get. But really that person has nothing to do with the pain inside. The pain inside—pay close attention next time—came as a direct consequence of the thoughts you had regarding what the person said—thoughts about being unlovable maybe or misunderstood.
Regret works the same way as any other bad feeling. It is not a sign that you should be paying attention to the world out there, to the past specifically in this case. It is a flashing light telling you to fix your thinking. Not your thinking in the past but your thinking right now. You might be having thoughts that tell you that you have lost something forever or that you will suffer due to your mistakes for the rest of your life, that you can’t have what you want now. If making these statements doesn’t feel good, it means that the statements are taking you away from your desires and that you can change them. When viewed in this way, regret gives you back power because the path to what you want starts with your thoughts. The law of attraction responds to your self-talk. Change your self-talk and change your world.
So if you find yourself regretting something that already happened, don’t wallow in a past you can’t change (and which doesn’t matter anyway because you can have anything you want right now). And refocus instead on the present and the signs you are getting that will guide you to your desires. The way to everything you want is to be happy right now. It’s the one, simple answer to any problem past, present or future. We have talked about a lot of different processes that can help you shift your thoughts and like when you experience any other bad-feeling thoughts, the process you choose is going to depend on how far you have let the negative thoughts go. Do you feel frustration or hopelessness? Will a few minutes of meditation wipe your mental slate clean or do you need to take a nap? Stay alert, interpret your feelings the way they were intended to be read, always refocus on feeling better and you’ll forget what regret even means.