Do you know this feeling?
The kind of regret that makes you look away, from yourself. The rumination that locks you into the past. Stuck on self blame, disappointment, shame, hindsight. A longing for a different story. Convinced that the past which has cemented the present can never be changed for a better tomorrow. An inextricable connection, a trap, of cause and effect obsession.
It’s common and the six biggest regrets for North Americans is education, career, romance, parenting, self improvement and leisure. Others include finances, family, health, friends, community and spirituality.
Regret is almost always self focused. We regret the decisions that we have made – or ones we have influenced – that have gotten us to a state of dissatisfaction. Considerable self blame is the main ingredient. It’s dominated by “should have” thinking that can lead to self depreciation and contribute to negative emotional states like depression, anxiety and guilt.
The truth is we can never change the past. But there are ways to achieve a level of peace and establish an approach for a better future. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and other therapeutic modalities can work wonders. Wouldn’t it be freeing to not look away from yourself any longer?