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Dealing with Regrets


According to collins dictionary, Regret is a feeling of sadness or disappointment, which is caused by something that has happened or something that you have done or not done.

Regret is the negative emotion that people experience when realizing or imagining that their present situation would have been better had they decided or acted differently.

This emotional reaction is accompanied by feelings that one should have known better, by having a sinking feeling, by thoughts about the mistake one has made and the opportunities lost, by tendencies to kick oneself and to correct one’s mistake, by desires to undo the event and get a second chance.

It is thus a cognitively based emotion that motivates one to think about how the negative event came about and how one could change it, or how one could prevent its future occurrence.


How to Deal With Regret: Ways to benefit and Move forward.

When I look back at some of the most painful moments of my life, I see myself sitting alone, feeling either immense shame or regret.

It’s bizarre how we can get so offended and angry when other people hurt us, and yet repeatedly choose to torture ourselves, far worse than they possibly could, through repeated mental rehashing.

At any moment I could let go of the weight of who I’d been and allow myself a better chance of becoming who I wanted to be.

What I did or didn’t do could either paralyze me further or motivate me to do something now—something not conceived in reaction to past disappointments but born completely anew from a moment of strength and empowerment.


You can take your regrets and:

• Identify and address your weaknesses.

When we acknowledge our weaknesses, there’s often an implied sense of judgment, as if we should never make any mistakes.

The alternative is to accept that everyone makes mistakes and then focus on what we can do differently going forward.

• Use the opportunity to become better at adapting.

I couldn’t believe I’d been so naive.

I couldn’t change what I’d done, but I could take my new set of circumstances and challenges and plan a strategy to get back where I wanted to be.

Any time we practice adapting, we create the possibility of happiness that doesn’t depend on perfect conditions.

• Strengthen your ability to focus on things you can control.

This is an invaluable skill because it empowers us to take positive action instead of falling into a shame cycle.


• Evaluate your relationships.

You have to do some major life restructuring to rebound from whatever you just experienced.

Are your friends there for you, offering forgiveness and support—even if it takes them a little time to get there? If not, this may be a perfect time to remove unhealthy relationships from your life.

This may also give you a chance to strengthen your relationships.

If you hurt someone else, take this opportunity to discover what really motivated your actions and then let yourself get vulnerable with them.

We’re all human, and nothing brings us together like acknowledging our universal struggles.


• Get better at accepting responsibility.

I know many people who would sooner donate their organs to science than take responsibility.

We’ve all passed the buck at one time or another, because it’s a risk to admit blame. Still, there’s something empowering about saying, “I screwed up, and I accept the consequences.”


• Challenge your thinking.

There’s a quote that reads “Success is often the result of taking a misstep in the right direction.”

If your mistake propels you toward a better future, then it’s actually a blessing in disguise.

I realize mistakes oftentimes present challenges, but ultimately, you can only move forward if you find opportunities in your reality, whatever that may be.

The crazy thing about regret is that it seems imperative sometimes—as if we have to indulge it like a bed we made and now have to lie in.

But there’s nothing compelling us to dwell on the way things could have been. The only thing that keeps us stuck in lost possibilities is the refusal to focus on new ones.

Don’t drown in regret over what never came to be, instead, use your energy to create what can be..     ~ Tope Ajelowo
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