The Different Kinds of Regret and Ways to Deal with It
There are many kinds of regret, and along with the if-only thought, any kind of regret will only stop you from progressing and living a better life. Find out the different types of regret and how you can deal with it.
Click here to read the introduction: How to Overcome Regret
The Angst and Anger Mixture
Regret comes with a package. It is a mixture of grief and anger. You break up, you’re angry that you’re the dumped one or the one that’s alone, and you regret ever having gone out with someone. You blame fate, why on earth did it happen to just you. Why the heck were you handpicked for all this torture?
And then we blame ourselves. If we wouldn’t have done that, things wouldn’t have turned out this way. And lastly, we put the blame on everyone and everything around us. The whole world is conspiring against us. But seriously, what do we gain from these thoughts? Zilch. Absolutely nothing.
When you really want to come out of the misery, you will have to work rationally on it. Separate the anger and the grief. These are two different components, and unless you are willing to see them as two different entities, you won’t be able to come out of your regret. Try to figure out what causes the anger, as only you can do it. And prune the causes, so that you are not hurt again by the same things. You can make your anger subside by not repeating the same mistake again. Remember, anger gives you more reasons to regret. And unless you want to spend all your life regretting, do not make the anger cloud your rational thinking.
Babysitting the Grief
Sorrow is natural. All of us grieve. We grieve when we lose something, someone, when our dreams are shattered and for many other reasons. I remember a story that I heard when I was three, but it’s still imprinted in my memory as if I heard it yesterday. Perhaps you’ve heard it too.
The story is about a woman who comes to Lord Buddha with her deceased child and asks Him to bring him back to life. The Lord told her that he would do that if she brings a handful of mustard from a house in which nobody has died. Needless to say, the woman was unable to. Need I narrate the moral of the anecdote? You are not alone, so stop feeling like you’re being picked on as a guinea pig for grief.
The Dream Catch
When your dreams are shattered, what can you do? You wanted to become an astronaut. So you couldn’t do that. Cruel fate, isn’t it? But your life didn’t end there, did it? You’re still alive, and it’s because, as clichéd as it seems, your work here hasn’t finished. Try to know your real motive. Why did you want to be an astronaut? Because of the fame or because you wanted to hang out in free space? It’s all about figuring the actual reasons behind your motive. Try to analyze your dreams and start afresh. Take regret out of the picture, and you just might end up happy!
Like grief and regret, anger too is a natural act. All of us get angry at one point or the other in our life. But if all you see is red, all the time, it’s time you contemplate over it. What is your anger telling you? A few years ago, I was always angry and for no reason at all. Everyone around me could see the distinct change in my behavior, and some even suggested professional help. After a lot of issues and tantrums later, I figured out what was bothering me.
I just wasn’t able to spend quality time with my spouse, and that made me feel guilty. And that guilt had turned into frustrating anger. But instead of overcoming it, I was making it worse. But I didn’t drown myself in a sea of guilt. I tried making use of every moment which I spent with him. A few months later, I was promoted and didn’t have to spend the extra time at the office. Sometimes, you just need to find the root of all your issues, and you might just realize that your own frustrations in life are actually the culprit when it comes to making you feel worse.
Have you ever regretted any move that you made for your loved one? I haven’t, and I doubt if you have. Remember the day when you had to skip work, because you had to help your partner who wasn’t feeling all that well? You don’t regret it, because it felt good to be there and look after your loved one. But it isn’t always easy all the time. The path on which you are a heading may be tricky, laid with anxiety, uneasiness and fear. It pounds at your heart. You would want success but would dread the risks. Your impulse to champion the oppressed might compete with panic for your own sorry hide. Don’t fear when you are heading towards love because you will never regret it.
In life, it’s easy to force anger inwards or at others because of your own regrets. And it’s easier to sink in so deep that you’d lose all your confidence and never find your way back to the happy life. But take a step back and reflect. Understand the reason behind your regrets, and you’ll know when to call on regret as a motivator that will forcefully remind you not to make choices that will leave you sorry. And for that, you need to make an amalgam of grieved losses, reclaimed dreams and articulated anger.
And until then, just learn to let go.