Many of us are living with regret, which can be a very heavy burden to bear.
It can even cause depressive symptoms.
When looking back on the past, we all have times where we wish we had:
- said something differently;
- handled something better;
- been more confident;
- or not so sensitive;
… and the list goes on.
Just to top it off, our hindsight has a habit of rubbing it in, telling us “you should have known better”.
Does any of this sound familiar to you? Is living with regret about the past, bringing you down in the here and now?!
The good news is, that it *is* possible to put the past in its place, so that we are no longer living with regret. It’s about learning to be gracious to ourselves from here on in, and letting go of guilt.
Stop Living with Regret
To stop living with regret, it is first of all important to gain clarification within ourselves about “Which part of this situation really was my responsibility?” and “Which part was not actually mine to look after?”. Answering these questions honestly can ease the burden of unnecessary guilt.
Secondly, with hindsight, we can see past events through the lens of our current knowledge. However, the trick is to remind ourselves that we did not have the same knowledge back at that time. Be gracious, and with the understanding of the learning curve between past events and today’s reality, forgive yourself. Notice the journey, and the wisdom that has come with time.
Counselling can be a way to facilitate this thought process. Talking through regrets, or through stories from the past that have left you disappointed in yourself or uncertain about whether to feel guilty, can provide clarification and insight, and free you up to focus on the present and the future.
Author: Naomi Griffin, BA (Psych & Music); Grad Dip in Pastoral Couns; PG Dip Psych; Grad Cert Case Management; Grad Cert Ed Studies (Career Development); STAP; MAPS; MCCOUNP.
Please Note: Naomi is not currently practising at Vision Psychology, but is continuing to provide supervision for provisional (including 4+2 and 5+1) and registered psychologists, and for ministry agents in the wider Christian community. If you would like information regarding supervision, or want to book an appointment with a Christian psychologist, please contact Reception on 1800 877 924.