Getting Over Regrets

Time to move on

Ever suffered one of those bleak, black Mondays? I did recently. Despite my best laid plans, I made a poor decision. It was late Tuesday afternoon when I realized I’d spent the entire morning in worry and regret over the previous day’s happenings.  Immediately I began to talk myself out of this negative reverie. Not only was I practicing poor time management, this ruminating was accomplishing nothing. I needed to stop wasting my time on yesterday.

Regret is a part of life. We don’t get it right every time and consequently end up regretting our decisions, actions and often our words. Hours spent lamenting cannot change the past.

Closeup on hands of stressed young housewife

Life is not a dress rehearsal. It offers no do-over’s. Our only choice is to dispense with the “should haves” and move on.

By the next morning as the desert sun waved it’s powerful rays over the earth, I signaled good-bye to any remaining remorse lingering deep in the corners of my mind.

Free Happy Woman Enjoying Nature. Beauty Girl Outdoor.

Using a trusted process to banish my woes, I transitioned into getting on with the day in a positive mode.

How did I banish my disappointment? By employing a simple two-step process.

  1. Analyze what went wrong. If you dig deep enough you can probably come up with multiple reasons. In my case, attempting to make a quick decision, meant omitting some necessary research. I called myself out for moving too fast and then vowed to slow down. Reminded of the old Yiddish proverb: “Measure 10 times and cut once,” I decided to write it out and post it on my vision board. If I was going to learn from this, I needed to keep it in front of me.
  2. Next, I forgave myself. Sure, it took some self talk. I faced disappointment before and know what it feels like. I also know from experience, by mustering up some fortitude, I can push through it. Assuring myself the error wasn’t fatal enabled me to move on and refocus my energy on accomplishing an item on my to-do list.

Sunny at work 1

Getting a job done is uplifting and serves to recharge your confidence level.

The next time you stumble and fall, use the situation to rebuild. Take the time to thoroughly uncover where you went off course. Then forgive yourself and move on.

One last thought…Kelly Clarkson sings about it: “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” So suck it up and walk a little taller.

Cease Thinking: If Only

Motivational quote on rustic background HAVE BIG DREAMS

I have a friend I call “If Only Eloise.” Of course, her real name isn’t Eloise, and to be honest with you she is not exactly a friend. My last conversation with Eloise consisted of a litany of laments. It went like this, “If only I had completed my master’s degree, if only I stayed with my second husband, if only…well, you get the picture. Not only is “If Only Eloise” focused on the past, she seems never to conjure up a positive memory.

As I listened to Eloise drone on, I visualized smashing a rear-view mirror into a zillion little pieces, sweeping it up into a container and burying it deep in the earth. Obviously her self-imposed stress was having an unpleasant effect on me.

sad girl with a sad smile drawn on paper

I wanted to reach out and shake this woman who was intent on wasting precious time by ruminating over the past.  When she paused to breathe, I tried a little tough love technique of mine and then suggested she start living in the present.

Sometimes we all fall into an unhealthy “if only” pattern. Meditating on your failures not only adds to your stress level, it drains you of energy and diminishes your self esteem. If you find yourself agonizing over the past, I have some suggestions. First, what could you do to remedy the situation?

Do you owe someone an apology? If so, graciously and sincerely ask for forgiveness. If that ship has sailed and you have no recourse, begin by forgiving yourself.

Next, absorb the lesson learned. We all make mistakes; however, the real danger is, making the same mistake twice. So, take a step back, analyze what you could have done differently, vow to never repeat that action and move on. In the process, cut yourself some slack, treat yourself kindly and hold yourself in love.

Banish any nasty negative voices in your head

crazy monster

by turning your thoughts to positive endeavors. Make an inventory of your strong points. If you must revisit the past, focus on your wins.

When you feel anxiety regarding past mistakes creep in and spill into the moment, stop and center yourself by taking several slow deep breaths. Pull air deep into your diaphragm. Use this breathing technique to slow down your thoughts and rid your mind of negative intrusions.

Lastly, throw away your rear view mirror. Unless it is attached to your vehicle, it is not a useful tool, only a distraction.  Got the picture? Now proceed to dream big, live well and make the most of each moment.

Gone Fishing

Categorically speaking, I’m the “goody two-shoes” type. If you’ve never met me, just take my word for it because part of my persona is sticking to the truth. I’ve never gotten a traffic ticket, ignored a jury duty summons or neglected to return my library books by the due date. I do have one naughty little secret to share with you, I play hooky. Not only do I believe in escaping what the world expects you to be on a given day, I highly recommend it.

Call it a mental health day, a Ferris Bueller lark or designated “me time,” refer to it by whatever name you choose, but do not deny yourself the occasional escape from your many obligations and duties.

Before you go too far off the beaten path, the good girl side of me must warn you about the rules. Granted, they are my rules, but I hope you will indulge me. First, understand that hooky is a special dispensation you grant the worn-out deserving inner you. It should not be abused or turned into a habit. I allow myself one (okay, maybe two) days per year. My second rule is select the day wisely. Careful planning is necessary so innocent people don’t suffer as a result of your absence.
Beautiful young woman in a pensive expression
For example, do not take personal time from work on the day an important project is due, no reneging on playing teacher’s helper the morning of your third grader’s field trip and do not dare cancel out an hour before your mother-in-law’s big birthday bash.

The third and most important rule: do something that gives you great joy. Escape to the beach with a picnic lunch or hide out in the library
Beach bag
and lose yourself in a racy novel. Check into a day spa, go fishing or drive to a nearby city and play tourist. Perhaps you’d rather bolt the doors and keep the world at bay. It’s perfectly fine to stay home and have a movie marathon with Netflix or your favorite DVD’s, watch the daytime soaps if you must, or rearrange your furniture if it would make you happy. The point of this day of freedom is to recharge and refresh.

One last rule: banish any thoughts of guilt from your mind. Hooky is an annual event if you follow my rules. Own it, strategically plan it and make it fun! The sole purpose is to relieve stress and prevent burn-out. It is a day of freedom rich with the significant benefit of blissful peace. Experience the joy and then return to your normal routine a happier you!