Regret. What a sad word. I’m sure we all have felt regrets in one way or another, for small or more significant things. From that pair of shoes we bought but didn’t fit very well to the people we elected to represent us but are not up to expectations, our decisions and actions have consequences. So, whether we express our discontent over doing something we wish we hadn’t or over missed opportunities, feelings of regret are likely to occur.
What happens when you find yourself having regrets? You tend to ruminate. You replay past events over and over again in your mind. You focus on the mistakes or on what you should have done but didn’t. You feel disappointed. And you let anger, pain, frustration, guilt together with other negative emotions set in. You even cling to them. Gradually, they fill your heart, your mind, and inevitably shape your behaviors and actions. You become pessimistic, fatalistic, even depressed.
But it shouldn’t be like that. You only have one life, and you deserve to be happy and free from those negative feelings. So, let go of your regrets.
How do you do that?
- Face them and admit that you made a mistake. Don’t pretend it didn’t happen, hoping it will go away. Take responsibility for your action or inaction. Be honest with yourself and have the right attitude. Be also aware of your emotions and identify them.
- Learn a lesson from your experience. Try to understand the ‘why’ of your regrets. Dig deeper and examine your heart, your motivation. Ask God for wisdom and discernment to see clearly. He will show you. This is essential so you can grow, be more mindful of your emotions, and become a better you.
- Give them to God. He knows you and loves you with all your imperfections and weaknesses. He cares for you. (Psalms 55:22) So, ask God to take all the regrets you have and replace them with His peace (Philippians 4:6)
- Forgive yourself. Have compassion for yourself; you are not perfect, and it is ok. You are human. Ask God to help you be patient with yourself. But refuse to dwell on negative thoughts.
- Choose to turn the page and move on. The things you’ve experienced are history, so close that chapter of your life and refuse to go there again. Choose to focus on your future and trust God to guide you. He has good plans for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, to give you hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11)
Things can get very complicated in life, and there are no real guarantees that they will turn out the way we want them to. But we know that God can turn the bad things to our good and bring the best out of them when we trust Him. He has the power to make all things new (Revelation 21:5)