It is quite a tragedy that human beings live lives with such as assumption for control that life has become full of regrets. It is a useful exercise to understand what regret means and how to overcome regrets. More importantly, is it possible to live a life without regrets?
You cannot live happily or find inner peace if you allow your regrets to consume you. Regrets could kill. It is one of the most negative of emotions. It can only create guilt since you keep pulling yourself up about why did you not make a better decision.
Let us start by looking at the definition of regret.
What is the meaning of regret?
To regret is to feel sorrow or remorse for (an act, fault, disappointment, etc.)
Why do we feel regret?
We feel regret because we feel that we could have behaved differently and hence we feel that we could or should have behaved differently.
How to NOT feel regret ever? Here are 9 ways to get rid of regrets.
1. Decisions are taken in a certain context
When you took a certain decision, you had a set of information available to you and you took the information and made a call. Now, if you had more information about how that decision will work out in the future, you may have taken a different decision.
So, there is no regret to be felt here because you had limited information available.
2. You were a different individual yesterday
This is one of the most important lessons if you are to absolutely avoid regret. One, as the last point mentioned, you had limited information, which is usually the case when you are taking a decision. However, if you look at the person you were while you were making a decision, you were not the same person as you are now. Hindsight teaches you a lesson when you make what looks like a mistake.
You could not have taken a better decision because you were not the kind of person who could have taken a different decision.
So, there is no regret to be felt here because you can only take a certain decision depending on the kind of person you are, at a point in time.
3. Hindsight is always right
Hindsight is always right. There is a lesson you learn after the bygones are bygones. It’s usually one of the two:
I was right at the time.
I was wrong at the time.
Hindsight cannot be wrong as it allows you the benefit of looking at the situation after it is over. Do not use hindsight to evaluate your decision at a point of time in the past. It is not a fair comparison.
4. Do things you love
One of the greatest regrets of the dying are not having a shot at what they loved. You may win or you may lose, but you can’t go to your deathbed wishing that you had done what you loved.
Who knows, your story will turn out to be altogether different.
5. Listen to your heart
Steve Jobs once said, ‘“Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”
If you listen to your heart, you would not be wrong. The outcome may turn out to be different, but you would not ever regret choosing the path of your happiness. Your heart knows what would make you happy. It tells you. Listen to it.
The one regret you would find difficult to live with is not pursuing what your heart told you to do.
6. Pay attention to your body to avoid regrets
When you are in a moment of decision, pay attention to how your body feels. If you want to go for the decision, your physiology would push you. Otherwise, you would feel nervous and tense.
Imagine that you are about to go on a date with someone you have been chatting for a while online. Your body muscles feel stiff and instead of feeling happy about meeting someone you are excited to meet, you feel nervous. These are clear signs that it is a bad decision and you should really reconsider the date.
The same line of thinking goes with considering job offers and business decisions. Your body doesn’t lie. You just need to figure out how to listen to it, and pay attention.
7. Follow your joy
One of the sure shot ways of avoiding regret is to make decision that allow you to follow what makes you happy. Imagine getting up in the morning, doing what you care about for a living, and going back to bed.
If you are able to create a life doing what helps you find your joy, you will be able to also live a life free of regret.
8. Mistakes are teachers
If you don’t make mistakes, you won’t learn a thing. So, do not regret taking risks and making mistakes. If you don’t try new things, you won’t learn anything new. When you take a risk, there is a possibility that it may not work out.
So, if and when it’s certain that things have not worked out, learn the lesson and move on. Do not let the situation turn into a regret.
We live in a world where most people do not have the guts or the resources to follow their dreams. If you choose to follow yours, you are one of the fortunate ones. Learn from your mistakes and keep moving forward.
9. There is no free will
Now, human life is based on the assumption that there is free will and hence we are responsible for our life and our decisions. However, one of the greatest philosophical revelations of my life that there is no free will. Our thoughts are guided by nature, just like everything else.
We could not have made a different decision as we are connected to the universal powers that run the world, and human life is so exception.
Have no regret since you could not have done differently than you did. Regret, therefore, is a false emotion.
There was a point in time when I got severely depressed because I could not get over the guilt of making what turned out to be a poor professional judgement. However, I was a different person then and my priorities guided me to take a certain decision. I see no reason how I could have behaved differently in that moment. It goes for each moment which seems like a regret now.
We are evolving through the course of our lives and there is no way we could have chosen differently than we did yesterday, when we were different people. Have no regrets.
Thank you for reading.
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