Pangs of regret poison your ability to learn from mistakes as well as your ability to move on and enjoy life.
Even if you have a legitimate regret, the best approach is to take note of your regret, to learn from your mistake, and then to let it go. Here are three questions to ask yourself when you feel regret:
1. What can I do now to improve the situation? Can I apologize or take some action to mitigate the consequences?
2. How can I reframe the situation to try to get something positive out of it?
3. What can I do in the future to handle a similar situation better ? If I do not learn from this lesson, I am bound to repeat it — to my later regret.
For example, if you regretted having yelled at your friend, consider:
1. Apologizing. Explain what happened. For instance, you may not usually speak up for yourself, but when you do, you tend to do it more harshly than you intended.
2. Recognizing that you were simply trying to stand up for yourself, and need some practice doing it more tactfully.
3. Speaking up earlier in the future and being diplomatic about it, instead of waiting until you’re so fed up that to have to shout.
“When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.’”
~Alexander Graham Bell
by Alison Poulsen, PhD