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There is a link between having constant thoughts of regret and having a pervasive feeling of bitterness about your life.
It can become a sticky web that is challenging to escape. But if you don’t escape it, those feelings can cloud all of your days—days that potentially hold promise for good things.
In this blog, we’ll look at regret and its link to bitterness, and some tips for setting aside these feelings and moving forward. Please keep reading…
To Err Is Human…
I read a quote somewhere that was attributed to a Vietnamese refugee who had said, “My life is still full of sweet promise.”
Imagine for a moment, being a refugee… forced to leave your home, your land, your friends, and possibly even your family—and still holding onto hope of better days to come.
Is there a part of you that thinks, “They must be nuts?”
Hope for a better tomorrow is sometimes all a person has. They may not be able to change today’s situation, but the hope is that tomorrow may bring something different. Or, if they are working to make changes, that incremental change will be taking place between one 24-hour span and the next.
Regret is when you look back at past events and circumstances and wish you’d made different choices. It’s one thing to assess your past and think about where different avenues may have lead… but at the end of the day, it’s an exercise in futility.
You can beat yourself up for what you perceive as your heinous mistakes: maybe you married an abusive individual or you didn’t go to college and get the degree you’d planned on going for, or any of a myriad of situations where you could have made a different choice.
As we know, you can’t change the past. But you do have one choice currently open to you: having regret is a choice.
If you choose to allow regret to color your life today and tomorrow, it can lead to a state of bitterness, in which you can no longer experience joy in your life because you are so angry with yourself for making what—in hindsight—were poor choices.
When we are confronted with a fork in the road, all we can do is choose one or stand still, but inevitably, any of these options is a choice. We hope for the best, and more often than not, things turn out. When they don’t, chalk it up to experience.
If you feel your present is colored by choices you made in the past, here are a couple of tips to help you assess where you are and begin to move forward again:
Tip #1: Gauge your Current Thinking
- Are you living in regret, mulling incessantly over the poor choices you feel you’ve made?
- If so, are you angry with yourself?
- Is your life now one of despair?
- Do you feel bitter because past hopes didn’t work out as planned?
Tip #2: Offer Yourself Forgiveness
Again, regret is a choice. We all make decisions we wish we hadn’t, but what’s done is done. In some cases, you may feel you’re meant to pay forever for choices that didn’t work out or didn’t go as planned.
To find peace, begin by offering yourself forgiveness. You did the best you knew how to do, you made the choice you thought would work out well. If it didn’t, remember that hindsight is always much clearer vision than what you are experiencing at the time you made a decision.
Forgive yourself, so you can begin to let go of any self-directed anger. This will begin to lessen the twin leashes of regret and bitterness.
My best to you in banishing regret and bitterness from your life.
Do your regrets color your life today?
Have you forgiven yourself for decisions you made in the past that didn’t work out?