“At the end of the day, let there be no excuses, no explanations, no regrets.” Steve Maraboli
Everyone carries around a large list of regrets. Things that we wish we had done differently, opportunities that we didn’t take, people we wish we never hurt etc.. But what if we could create a way of living that ensured we never felt regret again? A perspective that could foster a healthy relationship with those inevitable hiccups in life, so we can live in the present and let go of the past. We can never avoid the mistakes, but with the right mindset, we can transmute them into life lessons that will improve us as human beings.
The Tibetan monks call this process “intelligent regret”. A process that brings awareness to mistakes, then decides to do things differently. This is a very simple yet profound and intelligent way to perceive your mistakes, and far more effective than stewing over past mishaps and wishing you could change them.
Throughout my life I have engaged with this process, and have “intelligently regretted” many decisions, behaviours and actions. Here are a couple ideas that may help you through the ‘intelligent regret’ process.
Having awareness of your mistakes is a very important part of avoiding regret, and being able to admit your role is an unavoidable step. Ignorance will hold you hostage in the past, and chains you to stale ideologies and ways of thinking that will hinder your opportunity for progress and self-exploration.
There is nothing more toxic than a stubborn attitude that defends and blames external influences, rather than taking responsibility for personal actions. Accepting that you have acted out of line with your higher self is very important.
Analyse and Interpret
Analyse and interpret your mistakes, and ask yourself intelligent questions about them. Why did I make this mistake? Did I do it intentionally? How can I avoid making it in the future? What can I learn from it? etc… These types of questions really challenge you to accept and learn from your mistakes, and I have personally used this process of self-reflection many times. This encourages a new perspective where progress ensues in the present and future, and the past is learnt from and left behind.
You did your Best
I think this is almost the most critical element to embrace. Understanding that at the time you made said mistake, you did your best. We are all doing our best all the time, and it is just a gap in our education/experience that may have led to a less than perfect moment. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Just realise that you did your best, practice and embrace the above ideas, and aim to progress. No one is perfect.
I hope these ideas can transform your relationship towards regret. I know this approach has governed and guided my attitude towards mistakes, and it has proved more than useful. Good luck!!
If you have anymore helpful tips for letting go of regret, post a comment 🙂