It’s an emotion that’s not always talked about and can be the skeleton(s) in the closet. It feels like you’re always carrying it as a constant reminder of what you should have or could have done better. Or you adapt into the daydream of how different your life would be if you just didn’t do that one thing, that one thing that you regret so much in life that you’re living in a sliding door reality.
The meaning of regret is an action or word that brings about a chain reaction of events and changes one’s life irreversibly. This change is not perceived in a good way either! A lot of the time what you may consider a regret in life includes a couple of other emotions that to stay close with regret – shame and guilt.
Once you’ve anchored this experience deemed regrettable into the body, you’ve created a habit of experiencing it and look for other experiences to confirm this way of thinking into a belief. A belief that can feel like the weight of a hundred kilos on your shoulders or in your heart, that keeps you living in the past. We’ve all heard of muscle memory, when the body remembers how to do something even though it hasn’t done it for ages. So too does the body remember and hold onto emotions that you experience whether they’re good or bad and this is called an anchor.
Mistakes happen, but the trick is to learn from them, to take responsibility for your actions, words and your part in situations. Most of the time regret is the invisible elephant in the room so I always encourage all to address it and then choose to let it go. It’s easier said than done however the other option is a very heavy one and one that will chip away with how you experience joy and happiness in life.
How do you step out of regret?
Here are 4 ways to step out of this anchor and find closure.
- Review as if you’re a fly on the wall
Step out of the emotion, out of being the centre of the experience. Allow yourself to review it like you’re watching a movie. This way you’re able to get an overview instead of re-experiencing all the emotions over and over whilst making this anchor stronger.
- Breathe through feelings
Experience your feelngs and use your breath to move them through and out your body. Most of the time with emotions we don’t want to feel, we stuff them down deep inside us. This is where they get stuck and once too many feelings are pushed down like a volcano waiting to explode.
Give yourself permission to feel and then move through them, no longer holding onto them. This takes a bit of practice but doing so consistently, will clear out a whole lot of skeletons!
- Accept the past
This is such an integral part of letting go. Accepting what’s happened in the past, keeps it exactly right there – in the past. As I mentioned above, regret is constantly living in the past instead of the present that creates an anchored loop. To be able to accept and leave the situation in the past, ask yourself a couple of questions when these feelings pop up that really assist in accepting:
Can I change it?
What can I learn from this?
What will I do if this ever happens again?
- Forgive yourself and others
Taking ownership for our part in any situation is one of the most challenging steps in moving through regret, as it deals with shame and guilt. Just as we would console and teach a child what sorry means (take ownership) and share with them what they can learn from this experience, creates anchors on how to deal with this emotion and by this, it means with good strong anchors! So, start gently with yourself first in forgiving, and then move onto others if needed.
So instead of beating yourself up of what you would have, should have done better, start creating strong supportive anchors to bring into the present moment in a more balanced and joyful manner. And when you think about your future, it will feel so much lighter with many, many good possibilities.
The Carousel would like to thank Simone Lee for her article.
Simone Lee is a Life Strategist & Animal Communicator