Regrets. We all have them, sometimes on a daily basis. I should have . . . I could have . . . why didn’t I . . . If only . . .
Sound familiar? Yeah, I’m with you. The tendency is to focus on the what should have been and berate ourselves for not doing what we should have or could have. Anger precedes sorrow and finally mourning takes over. And if we don’t move through those stages and the regret lingers and grows and festers like an old sore that just won’t heal, well, some really bad stuff can happen.
I recently faced that regret monster because of a decision I didn’t make that led to one very heartbroken daughter. I cried with and for her. I scolded myself. Berated myself. Questioned myself. Why didn’t I act when I should have? Why didn’t I make the decision I should have made?
So what do we do when regret inbeds itself in our soul and begins gnawing a hole there?
Here are five suggestions to leave regret behind and move forward without looking back.
- Accept that you can’t change the past. As the saying goes, it is what it is. No matter how much it may hurt or how angry you are about it, the past is there and it’s not available to change.
- Talk to God about how you feel. Be honest, he knows your heart anyway. Get all your angst out before him and dump your burdens at his feet.
- Seek forgiveness, if needed, and allow yourself to be forgiven. Extend the same grace to yourself that God so freely gives.
- Do what you can to right any relationships that have been damaged. Much of this is out of your control but do what is within your power to bring healing.
- Learn from the regret and take action to make sure something similar doesn’t happen again.
Let’s face it, regret is real and there’s usually no easy away around it. But we can work through it. It’s a valley that has to be traversed in order to put it behind us for good.
Question: How do you deal with regret?