Everyone feels regrets at some time in their lives. According to research, people are more likely to experience regrets over education, career, romance, parenting, self-improvement, and leisure more than anything else.
People are also more likely to feel regrets of inaction than they are regrets of action. It takes a lot of courage to take the first step. Once you take the first step, it becomes like a snowball rolling down a hill, and it becomes much easier.
The purpose of regrets is to cause us to correct our actions. Feeling remorseless or satisfied with a decision are opposite emotions.
Regret and Remorse
There is a difference between feeling regretful and remorseful. When you regret something, you feel sorry that something happened. Being remorseful, leads to a deeply felt emotion when you have hurt someone else. It also motivates you to correct your actions so that you do not go down the same path again. While feeling regretful may leave you sad, you have minimal feeling towards the person you have hurt. Meanwhile, feeling remorseful leaves you with a lot of empathy for those you have hurt.
Tips for Coping With Regret
Coping with regret can leave you feeling very sad. There are at least four tips to keep in mind while moving through this period in your life.
Accept Your Emotions
Do not try to hide your emotions. Instead, accept them. It can often help to write them out in a letter. Then, you can choose to send the letter or not, but the process of writing it down helps you process what is going on in your life.
Make a List of Your Regrets
Everyone has more than one regret in their life. Spend time creating a list of those regrets. Then, write down any actions that you have taken to correct those regrets. For example, if you regret not having a college education, enroll in a course or two online or at a local school.
Think Before You Act
Take a couple of minutes to think before acting, but refuse to get caught in inaction paralysis. Quickly decide what path seems to make the most sense for you. Thankfully, you can almost always make slight or significant corrections to your course. Refuse to stop moving to correct a regret, even when the path seems challenging.
Almost everyone deals with regret. Creating an action plan to correct that regret helps. Talking to someone about regret can often help put you on the right path.