Today, I live my life to the fullest. I do what I love to do, I am not afraid to take big steps, and I never let a little bit of doubt and fear stop me from getting to where I’m going.
I take risks and I literally create and shape-shift my own destiny.
This wasn’t always the case. There was the time when my regret had almost turned into a chronic depression and suffering. Living a life full of regret because of the things you did, or were afraid to do in the past, is really not a wise way to live.
Now, I am just a regular person like you. I am not a self-improvement guru with 10 New York Times best-selling books who claims to give you the salvation to all your inner demons.
I will just share the insights gained through my limited experience which might prove beneficial and useful to many people reading this article, including you.
But before we begin, please tell me…Are you waking up each morning with the feeling that your life is useless? Do you think that there’s no more purpose for you on this planet? If you do, this short and yet powerful post, might be the wake-up-call you’ve been longing for!
Enough fluff, let’s dive in!
Have You Asked Yourself What “To Regret” Actually Means?
Of course, you will find a zillion different answers to this question if you only look for them. I’ll tell you what it means to me so that you can try and reflect in your own life.
There’s a very famous quote from Les Brown that I happen to love and I’d like to share it with you…It goes like this:
“The graveyard is the richest place on earth! It is the richest place because it is here that you will find all the hopes and dreams that were never fulfilled, the books that were never written, the songs that were never sung, the inventions that were never shared, the cures that were never discovered, and all because someone was too afraid, too scared to take that first step, keep with the problem, or determined to carry out their dream.”
“Never regret anything you have done with a sincere affection; nothing is lost that is born of the heart.” – Basil Rathbone
I think that this incredible and forever true quote, gives the perfect answer and enlightenment to everyone trying to live a regret-free life. To regret deeply means to have the feelings of deep remorse and guilt because you’ve wasted your life. It is a feeling of nostalgia mixed with sadness and unhappiness because you never went after your dreams only because you let fear, doubt and worry stop you.
It can also be connected to the things that you did in the past that you weren’t supposed to do. It doesn’t end there. Mistreating someone and breaking their heart, cheating and being disloyal, missing that once in a lifetime opportunity for your career, all of these and many more contribute even more fuel to the fire.
Well I don’t want you to ever experience this demon. I was suffering with the constant feeling of regret for quite a while but eventually I learned how to rise like a phoenix from the ashes and do the things I always wanted to do.
That’s exactly why I’m sharing my message with you.
1. Can you overcome emotional pain from your past?
Understand this – what happened, happened. The past cannot be changed, so STOP wasting your life thinking about it!
Why? Why? It is so, so simple, and yet, WHY do so many people have a difficult time coping with this truth? We hold onto that past like a blind man holds onto his stick. We’re letting something that doesn’t exist in the real world, something that has ended and now lives only in our imagination, to destroy our lives.
It is all about controlling what we can control, and gaining wisdom to accept the things that we cannot change.
You can control your thoughts, your emotions, your behavior, your actions and your attitude, but you can’t control someone else’s thoughts and actions. You can control what you do today, and the next day, and the next month, and the next year, but you cannot control what happened in the past.
So start focusing! Don’t waste your energy and life in those “should have and should not haves” or “if only(s)”!
If only I married Tom and not Jack. I should have taken that promotion. I shouldn’t have moved to London. She shouldn’t have left me. I should have gone on a diet. If only I proposed to her that summer.
“If only I am wise enough, to stop this madness, right here, and right now, and do something useful with my life!” – That’s the only “if only” you should be concerned with!
Accept your past exactly as it is and start learning from your mistakes. Don’t use this as an excuse for your future wretchedness!
If it is so hard for you to accept and let go of the past, here’s a very good technique that works time and time again.
Close your eyes and travel back in time to the event that holds you back. See the picture that bothers you very clearly! Even if it is very painful and you can’t stand it, just do it. Then, start imagining how this event or situation is a picture drawn onto a big canvas. Everything around the picture is black. See it very clearly.
Next, start seeing the picture getting smaller and smaller as it was pushing away from you. See it going in the distance and slowly fading in the blackness.
When it is completely gone, say this affirmation to yourself – “I let go of my past completely! It no longer bothers me, and from this moment on, I am in complete control over my thoughts and feelings. I faithfully learn from my past mistakes, and I’ll never let this happen in the future. Thank You!”
That’s a very powerful NLP technique actually.
“Some of us think holding on makes us strong; but sometimes it is letting go.” – Hermann Hesse
2. Checking your references
I suggest that from now on, you do at least that – check your references. Most of the time, we’re not even aware of where our beliefs came from. We tend to think and behave in a certain way, and all of this is done by habit without any conscious thought.
Let me tell you a very short story that I read somewhere on the net…
Once upon a time, there was a very old monk living in the monastery and working faithfully every day. He was dedicated to serving God and his entire life he was trying to live in enlightenment and compassion. His job was to translate ancient texts which were just copies of the original ancient wisdom. They were doing that with centuries and passed the tradition from one generation of monks to the next one.
This monk was doing this his entire life for more than 70 years. One day, he suddenly got a strong desire to read some of the original documents. Although he was sure the copies of the copies were identical to the original text, some curiosity and intuition made him dig deep in the ancient papers.
A week later, the other monks found him half-dead, lying and weeping on the floor. He was so overwhelmed he couldn’t say to the monks what actually happened. After few hours of calming him down and bringing him back to life, he silently opened his mouth and whispered: “The ancient text says ‘celebrate’, and not ‘celibate!’…”
Please check your references. Ask yourself: Where do I have these beliefs from? Why do I listen to these people? Why do I think that my past mistakes are at the same time limitations to my potential for the future? Does my constant fearing and worrying really have a sound reason? Are the people that I’m following and listening to going in the direction I want to go in my life?
3. Just do it!
The title says it all. If you are having doubts and worries about making that change, this might be the best advice you can possibly have. It’s actually a powerful technique which Anthony Robbins shares on his 101 coaching sessions with clients.
Here’s what to do.
That’s it! If you want to change something and you are having second thoughts, just STOP thinking about it and then do it!
Let me give you an example.
I want you to stretch your right arm in front of you, right now, as you’re reading this article. Come on, just do it. Stretch it in front of you somewhere at shoulders level. Now hold it there for 10 seconds and simply let it go. Have you done it? Good!
Now let’s try something different… I want you to TRY to raise your arm and stretch it in front of you. Don’t actually DO it, just try it. Think about it and try to do it. You see, “trying” is only an excuse! You can’t “try” something… You will either stretch the arm in front of you, or you won’t! You will either “just do it”, or you won’t…it’s as simple as that!
The more thought you give to it, the slimmer the chances of doing something. It’s the same with the thoughts of regretting about your past. They stop you from doing many things in your life.
Step out of your comfort zone and do the things you’ve always wanted to do! We all get one bite of the apple. If you are tired of going in the same restaurant or café again and again, just change it. If you’ve always wanted to be a vegetarian and you let doubts stop you, just do it! Don’t try to lose weight and regret about your past by blaming your parents for it, just do it! Become slim!
Don’t be afraid to create that business just because you’re regretting your past mistakes and think that you’re too old for a big change like that. Just do it for God’s sake!
Remember, Les Brown was right! The Graveyard, really is the richest place in the world, so be careful not to contribute to its wealth!
4. A handful of activities you can do to seize your days
When was the last time you sang? Are you laughing and smiling often? Is your mood positive? Are you a cheerful person? The next time you take a shower – start singing! Sing from your heart! Do it in your car, when you go and when you come back from work.
Singing is one of the best ways to release your stale, negative energy balloons that are just waiting for a needle to pop them. It can be a healing and rejuvenating experience, so do this more often.
Smile. Laugh. It is scientifically proven that just by doing this you prolong your life and improve many aspects of your health. It will help you in letting go of the things that have been bothering you for a long time. Develop a winner and can-do attitude. Believe that you can do it!
Also, do something that scares you each and every day. Seriously! It’s the best way to get out of your comfort zone and to make permanent changes in your personality traits. Engage in meditation. Gain control over your mind and stop regretting your past actions. There really isn’t a single benefit from doing it, so why continue with the madness?