Living without Regret

By November 2, 2016July 11th, 2023Mindfulness


We all can look back to the past and wish we could have taken a different path and made different choices. However we need to remember that we are often looking back with hindsight and from a wiser more knowledgeable perspective.

Regrets from the past, can often creep into the present. Immediately evoking the emotions that you were feeling at that time, even though the situation happened many years ago. We then begin to play what happened over in our minds……I should have done more? why was I so stupid?, what if? If only I could have? If they had only……..the emotion of regret then floods in, effecting the here and now. Mentally beating ourselves up about a situation or choice that we once made.

Living with regret will affect the present, the past cannot be changed. However learning from it can help change how we live today. The words should have, could have and what if are used too often. They can make us feel negative about ourselves and are not productive. Try saying I want to (without… but… at the end), I can and then just do the best you can in that moment.

To live without regret needs practice as old negative thoughts will creep in. To help you initially try and be more mindful of where your thoughts take you. Meditate to calm your mind and be your own best friend.

Make a guidance journal that you read every day. This will help to reinforce how you want to practice living life without regrets. You could write about the positive elements that you represent, what you are grateful for, write about the negative situations or choices that you have made – do not focus on the negative aspect here. Focus on what you learnt about yourself, how you can apply what you learnt to the here and now. Make a list of ways you can develop living without regret, for example……….

Do not make assumptions – about people or situations, this can lead to poor communication and misunderstandings.

Stay true to yourself – if we try to be something we are not, that may lead to regrets in the future.

Be brave – we are afraid of failure and rejection so we often take the safer, well-trodden route. The people that don’t regret will get back up from failure, learn any lessons and try again to achieve what they want.

Be your best friend – stop being critical of yourself, be supportive and be honest.

Switch off the auto pilot – don’t exist in your own life, live it. Do things that make you happy, be around the people that make you happy and bring out the best in you.

Make your own choices – we can often find it difficult to know what to do in certain situations. Advice from others is great…..however this is from their point of view and sometimes with their own agenda. List the pros and cons for you and your life and make the best discussion for you.

Love what you do – If you are unhappy, start to make changes. This can be daunting but ask yourself in 5 or 10 years’ time do you still want to feel the same. No? Then start with little changes, you cannot regret that, you did nothing then.

Don’t be envious – be pleased for others when they do well, achieve or succeed. Using that admiration instead, to fuel your own ideas for change and success.

Enjoy life – There will be good days and bad but try and rise to life’s challenges, do the best you can with what you have, nobody including yourself can expect more than that.

Spread and share happiness – find things that make you smile, take time to care about others and be grateful for what you have today.

Poem by Leanna Markgraf –

Life hands you obstacles
that put you out of place.
Do not run and hide
life is something you need to face.

Live each day with a purpose
Do what you want to do.
Dream big dreams
and fight to make them true.

Life can be wonderful
if you live it right.
Full of happiness
if you put up the fight.

Live it by the moment
even if you jump and fall.
Live your life with no regrets
or you never live at all.