How To Deal With Regret

Sometimes I ask myself – “do you feel like you should be different? Or act differently? Or feel differently?”

I don’t know if everyone asks himself or herself the same questions. Maybe you can quell my thoughts in the comments section below.

Recently, I’ve come to a realization. Everything that I have been through – the ups, the downs, the struggles and turmoil and everything in between – have made me the person I am today.

Regret is insignificant. No matter how hard we try, at this very moment, nothing about the past can be undone.

Regret is backward thinking

When you look to the past for answers, you are fighting an uphill battle. You desperately struggle as you battle the ravaging tides and the harsh winds.

Eckhart Tolle believes your egoic won’t let the past go because it needs it to feel alive. Your egoic mind wants to feel significant so it latches onto the past.

It keeps you living and thinking backward. It holds you in a troubled state. Your relationships, your work, and worst of all, yourself, crumble as you’re suspended in ‘regret thought-processes.’

The more you dwell in the past, the stronger your egoic mind grows. Like a feral animal, the more meat you give, the more it wants.

Present is forward-thinking

This very moment is all we have left. This very moment is the only one that can be changed, cherished and adored.

Even as write this, moments pass. The less I regret, the less I dwell, the more seamlessly the present moment passes.

There is little time to regret. In this very moment, there is only time to be content.

Be grateful that you are alive and breathing. Be content with the ability to think clearly and feel wholly.

Any room for future thinking?

Future thinking will also ruin you. Future thinking is just as toxic as regret.

Currently the future does not matter. Even as you begin to say the word fu-ture that first syllable is forever lost in the past.

That syllable should be let go, just as the future should.

The Love Exercise

There is no room for regret in this moment. Instead, spend a little time just being. Spend some time appreciating the person you are – maybe it’s your hair, eyes, or your brain.

Or pat yourself on the back for a small win – maybe it’s your first day sticking to a new diet or maybe you made it an entire day without having a cigarette.

This is an exercise I frequently do to avoid regret. The idea occurred to me after reading Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It by Kamal Ravikant.

He was at the point of killing himself because of all the common pressures that plague us – lack of love, security, support and freedom – until one day he decided to look into the mirror and say “I love you” over and over again.

He cured himself through positive reinforcement. I find that the same works with regret. Spend time today, and every single day, to giving yourself trying the Love Exercise.

Soon you will regret less and your egoic mind will detach. You will begin to love the person you are. You will begin to appreciate the present moment.

I wish nothing but amazing vibes to all our readers. I know whatever plagues you – whether regret, pain, or the future – you will overcome it.

And if you need a little push along the way, 2HelpfulGuys is here for anything.

Until next time my beautiful readers,

Be bold, be free and love on.

24 thoughts on “How To Deal With Regret

  1. I find living in the present extremely hard. I have always been a long term planner kind of person and so I’m often trying to work out an image of the future. I try to work out possible consequences of action s and things. (It sounds impossible even writing this.). I know it gets tiring though. I think it gets more exhausting every year! I’ve been working on ‘being in the moment’ but I have a long long way yet to go.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You are very right, it is quite hard. In regards to looking towards the future. The way I deal with that, while still enjoying the present moment is have a goal and a system. The goal would be the ‘end-game’ and the system would be the steps taken every day to achieve it.

      For example, when we wrote our first book, Not So Frequently Asked Questions, the goal was to complete the book by December and the system was answering one question a day.

      Using this method, I find that when you have a clear goal and system in place, you can spend less time worrying or thinking about the future and more on the day-to-day.

      Headlights allow you to see about 400 feet in the darkness of the night. If you continue to see only 400 feet ahead of you (towards your goal), you will eventually reach your destination.

      So don’t worry about the future. Prepare a goal and a system (plan) and live presently towards it.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. For me, living in the present is more of a lifestyle than a way of thinking. You have to act with intention, and know yourself enough to know that life is really not that hard; muster your self-knowledge and go with it. Dwelling on the past and future lends to worry and anxiety. Why worry about something that happened in the past or will happen in the future, if you are powerless to control it?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Exactly! I love this comment. You’re completely right. Not being in the present moment just brings unnecessary worry and anxiety. In the end, nothing can be changed or undone. The only thing that can be changed is the very present moment.

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  3. I am struggling with the past and the future. As I have always wanted to make a living doing something I love, never knowing exactly what that one thing is. I have kicked myself for not finding it earlier in my career or found a job that I could of stayed at and retired from. Regret it does not help me in any way so I need to move forward….Thank you for this post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The thing that helped me discover my passions has always been the pen and paper. Every day, dedicate ten minutes to discovering what you truly enjoy and love to do. Just make a simple list. Just ten minutes.

      The next day, spend another ten minutes. And repeat this cycle. Figuring out your passion can be done easily if we just dedicate a little bit of concentrated effort every single day.

      You are very welcome! I’m glad you enjoyed it. 🙂

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  4. Letting go of the past is vastly important. Relinquishing past regrets may necessitate learning from them while pressing on. Learn the lesson from yesterday, adjust today so that tomorrow you’re not repeating the same pattern. Past, present and future work together. It’s how you intentionally respond to each that allows you to freely live into today as compared to yesterday and allows you grow into the future. Working to practice and developer character traits in the present in order to grow into the person you want to become keeps on eye on both the present and the future.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh my. I love this comment! I completely agree with you. Although in regards to the future, personally I like to just have a rough estimation of what the future might look like. I like to spend more time adapting a system that allows me to work presently every day. I think the present system is what is going to make the most drastic changes in the long-run. But the main problem, is staying present.

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      1. I agree with you in that “the present system is what is going to make the most drastic changes in the long-run”, but I don’t believe all the long run changes are possible to incorporate into the present day. But, today, I can steepen my trajectory to my target making the path more direct. Make sense? The attitudes and behaviors I adopt and apply today are building blocks for incremental advances tomorrow. I believe present and future and tightly knit together. Past informs and provides necessary feedback, present is active experimentation/testing and tomorrow is a hypothesis you’ll get to test when you get there. It’s definitely a rough estimation. It should be. Too set in stone makes any variance extremely disruptive. How would you articulate the system working to implement and adapt? Is each day it’s own or how do they tie together?

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  5. I do think about the past and some things I wish I could change, but the past doesn’t bother me. I know I can’t change any of it but I certainly can do something abou the present. It could be that my past has not been as traumatic as others.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s a great attitude to have. I wish more people could have the same viewpoints. Maybe people would be less troubled? The past cannot be changed, so why dwell? It can’t be undone, so why sit and think and allow it to fester in our brains.

      I hope you continue to carry that positive attitude throughout your life. It’s an amazing perspective to have!

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  6. We are wired to gather information and ‘predict’ what happens so as to be able to understand life at the most basic level. We are also wired to be affected much more by negative experiences than by positive ones, and that’s obviously linked to survival. Plus, we carry our numerous cognitive biases. Living in the present is great, but sometimes the present can be very challenging, so we need to escape somehow.

    My point being…we deal with a lot! Each of us is different in how we handle things and when it comes to our thresholds. Which makes self-love and encouragement essential habits. We often treat ourselves in ways we would not treat a stranger, let alone a friend. And we have to treat ourselves well. You are absolutely right that it’s imperative to act it out…say something, do something…not just think it. The behavioral element supports the cognitive one and practically guarantees success. 🙂

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    1. Sorry for the incredibly late reply! School has been incredibly hectic!

      I think a lot of it stems from mindset. I don’t feel like we’re wired to dwell on negative experiences. As a daily practice, Steven and I constantly monitor ourselves for anxiety, fear and regret. I think that with awareness, we can fight those demons.

      However, that being said, I do completely agree with your second point. We all cope in very different ways. Our us, we like to sit and reflect and ask ourselves a few questions.
      We often ask:
      1) What am I feeling right now?
      2) Why am I feeling this way?
      3) What can I do to stop or change the way I’m feeling right now? Tomorrow? One week? One month?

      I really like and truly believe your last part: “The behavioural element supports the cognitive one.” If I have your permission, I would like to use that in a future post!

      Thank you for constructing such a thoughtful response! We truly appreciate your comment and hope you continue to contribute in the future.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. thanks for the reply. i will continue this thread and reference the “wiring” bit properly. i have a masters degree in psych and having read quite a bit on cognitive biases and also studied neuropsych, i always look to (and refer to) our “wiring” which can get in the way of our more positivity-oriented goals, because very simply we are here to survive. and yes, use what you want for future posts…i’m flattered if i’ve contributed in some way. and cognitive-behavioral therapy works…well! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Awesome! We definitely look forward to your insights and engagement in our future posts! Psychology is heavily important in the self-help field. While, we do not have a Masters like yourself, we do LOVE psychology. So if you have any particular recommended articles or books, we’re always interested.

        Also, thank you very much for the permission! We will use that in the future! 🙂

        Be well, Joanna! 🙂

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  7. We all have regrets. We have things we wish we could change. I know I do! There have been more than a few things, particularly in the last ten years, that have caused me great pain. It takes times. It takes hard work, but you can come to peace with your past. You can move on. What helped me begin to take that first step towards moving on was a quote said to me by a friend, “Hindsight can be your greatest friend, or your greatest enemy. If you learn from it then it is your friend. If you beat yourself up over it then it is your enemy.” After all, there is a reason we say “hindsight is 20/20”. That’s because once we stand clear of the situation and the emotions it wrought, we then can see clearly that which wasn’t clear when we were in the thick of it. You have to tell yourself you did the best you could with the choices or information at hand, at the time, and not beat yourself up because days, weeks, or years later you see a better solution. That’s completely unfair to ourselves. And commonly done by us all. That quote has helped me move on from painful moments in my life. It did not happen over night, and it was a lot of work, but move on I did. There is one incident in my past that can still bring me to tears, though not as rapidly. One day I know that, too, will no longer affect me in that way. : )

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  8. The ‘Daft Regret’ syndrome is particularly interesting in this respect. It is better to regret something you have done than something you haven’t. On the whole at least.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s very very true! Although, we’re not a fan of regret in general, at least YOU did the thing that you wanted.

      “You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take” – Michael Jordan

      So I do agree with taking the plunge, so to speak!

      Like

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