I don’t know about you, but I don’t think there’s a feeling quite as uncomfortable as the feeling of regret. Regret is being ashamed or upset with something you did or didn’t do, knowing that there’s no chance to go back and fix it now. It’s in these moments when it feels impossible to live life with no regrets.
How does regret affect us?
Over the years, I have tried hard not to regret anything I do. Sure, I allow myself to feel disappointment over results that haven’t gone my way. But I regret is such an intense emotion that can negatively affect what you do in the future. I take my disappointments and try and use them to help me learn and shape my future choices in a positive way. It is not always that easy, so let’s look at how we can do this.
Regret is very frustrating, and unfortunately, if you allow it to be, it’s just about everywhere. In a job sense, you might have regret linked to not taking one job offer over another. But you know now that it’s much too late to change your mind.
It could be that you wish you had taken another subject back University. But you now believe it’s too much work now to go back and get a different degree. You might also regret buying things that you soon realised you would never actually use. I’ve done this last one way too often.
These feelings of regret can lead to a lot of unwanted stress. There are also many other minor pangs of regret we might feel on a daily basis. Such as regretting sleeping in. Regretting not eating breakfast, or regretting missing a meeting.
If you’re not careful and mindful of your decisions, little things like this can pile up. Ignoring the alarm clock and oversleeping in every so often is not the worst thing that can happen. But if it happens all the time, in combination with other mistakes, you’ll become much more stressed.
Live Life With No Regrets
To live life with no regrets, you need to build up your self-awareness. Awareness allows us to start making calculated, deliberate decisions. Each time you make a decision, learn to think about what it is you’re doing and why. In everyday decisions, it helps to consider the alternatives, as well as the consequences.
It may seem a little tedious to have to actively think about every single decision you make. But, after a while, you’ll get in the habit of doing it, and it will seem natural. Once you get into a daily routine, you'll only have to think about decisions when important issues come up.
Essential business deals or new job offers don’t come around every day (I wish… no I don’t). But when they do, you need to make sure you're not impulsive with your decisions. If you assess each situation and decision you make, you’ll find yourself being much happier. Not to mention more likely to succeed.
Also, if you assess every situation you do make, you won’t regret making the decision you make. Because you put the effort in beforehand. Let’s say I had a work opportunity and I wasn’t sure it was right for me. I would be sure to consider whether it would fit into my life, laying out the pros and cons. Doing this, leaving out those dreaded “what ifs”, I am more able to make a decision that is right for me.
I cannot know whether it will work out or not in the future. But I can know that if it doesn’t work out, I'll know I took my time, and the decision I made was the right one at the time. If I take my time with my choices, it is far easier to live life with no regrets.
Regrets hold you back like chains, leaving you stuck in the past while everything else moves on. Thinking about the wrong decisions from the past will not get you anywhere. Instead, think about the choices you can make from this point on. Then pursue them with everything you’ve got. Enjoy your new life with no regrets!