Do you often find yourself thinking, “If only” and dreaming about how things might have been if only you’d done things differently?
That's called living a life of regret and is totally unnecessary. A life of regret is a life spent looking backwards; looking at what could have been rather enjoying what actually is and looking forward to what could still be for you.
No More If Only’s! You Have to Let Go
Do you have any regrets today? Do you wish that you’d done things differently today?
Maybe you have made some bad choices in life, maybe you have made mistakes, but here’s the thing - you don’t have to carry the regret around with you for the rest of your days. Regrets are like excess baggage. Every regret or “if only” is simply another item of excess baggage that you’re lugging along with you through your life. Excess baggage not only slows you down, it takes up loads of space and the only way to make more room in your life for today is to let go of yesterday. When you lighten your load by accepting the mistakes you’ve made and then letting go, you become free to do the things you want to do, go where you want to go, and be who you want to be, today. The only thing standing between you and a life of no regrets is you.
Live for Today and the World Will Open Up to You
The key is to live proactively in the present. If you give yourself every opportunity to live the life you want, every single day, what is there to regret? Instead, you will move through each day with a feeling of purpose and gratitude, for you are always doing what you want, when you want.
Strangely, when you really do live for today and start opening up and following through on opportunities that come your way, the world seems to respond in step with you. It's like the world has been waiting for you to wake up and live your life, you entire life!
Appreciate Your Previous Experiences in Life
Try to remember the expression ‘nothing ventured nothing gained’ and then use it to change the way you think about the events of your past. When you do, you will realize that mistakes are nothing more than experiences and the only real mistake you could ever make is to not learn from those experiences and then move on. Most people are too afraid of making a mistake, so they settle for mediocre lives and live with regret. However, successful people are not afraid to TRY even if they make mistakes on their way to the top. Eventually they work it out and get there, but success is rarely a straight line to the finish. There are many obstacles along the way that build and strengthen your character and resolve. So, keep pushing through even if you make some mistakes along the way.
Think about it...
Every experience from your past has molded you into the person you are today so every experience you have today and, crucially, what you learn from it, will continue to influence who you are tomorrow.
Drawing a Line in the Sand
If you’re carrying excess baggage with you, it’s time to lighten your load. This means drawing a line in the sand and separating yourself from ‘regretful’ events in your past. By letting go of them, you leave yourself free to move forwards into today and tomorrow without them hanging around you.
Question 1: What do you regret right now?
Figure out exactly what your excess baggage is. What are your “if only’s” and what do you wish you’d done differently? For instance, how do you feel about your success with women so far in life?
Question 2: Can you make amends?
Sometimes you are holding regrets about how you treated another person. So, if any of your “if only’s” are regrets concerning other people, make amends by apologizing to them. Apologizing lightens your load and allows you and the other person to make a fresh start, but it’s not always necessary to seek the forgiveness of others to be able to move on. In fact, sometimes dragging up old hurts from the past might do more harm than good. In those cases, simply acknowledge your mistake, accept that you made the mistake, take responsibility for your part and then forgive yourself. Stop beating yourself up about past events that can‘t be changed. Learn from them and then just let them go.
Question 3: What can you still do about it?
If any of your “if only’s” are regrets over things you didn’t do, why not do them now? For example, if you regret not going on a training course that could have allowed you to make a career change, why not look into taking that course now? That new career could still be yours. The opportunity you had to take the course first time around has gone but that doesn’t mean all opportunities are now gone. New opportunities are all around you if you make space for them. Dump the “if only’s” that are obscuring your vision and give yourself a much clearer view of what you can still do with your life.
If letting go of your regrets doesn’t feel right at the moment, try turning your focus away from those past events that you regret by focusing on the events you don’t regret. Microsoft founder Bill Gates dropped out of college but does he regret it? Basketball legend Michael Jordan didn’t make his college team at one point because he didn’t play well enough, but did he sit around thinking “If only I'd made the team...then I would have a better chance of becoming an NBA superstar”? No. He learned from his experience and he moved on - big time!
Look back at the past events of your life in a new light. Turn your attention to the good decisions you’ve made and the positive actions you’ve taken. Not every choice you’ve ever made was a bad one and not everything you’ve ever done was a mistake. Recognize your successes and realize that each new day brings with it new opportunities to succeed. Each new day represents another opportunity to live your life the way you want to live it so all you have to do is make room for the new opportunities that continue to come your way by letting go of the events of yesterday.
Look at it this way; Scientific research has found that our memories of past events change over time and often become exaggerated versions of actual happenings. Chances are, the big ‘regret’ you’re lugging around with you is not actually such a big deal after all.
“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