This is one of the lines from Frank Sinatra’s classic “I did it my way” and it’s one of the most popular songs sung at funerals.
It’s certainly true that many people go to their graves with regrets, but if you think about it, it’s pretty sad if people carry regrets around for years, rather than dealing with them and hopefully leaving them behind. Regrets are like negative thoughts – we can’t change what happened in the past and dwelling on them only makes us miserable.
So how can we go about living without regrets? Here are a few suggestions you can think about.
Acknowledge your regrets and past mistakes and move on. Try to learn from past mistakes. Focus on getting on with your life and avoid making the same mistakes that caused your regrets.
Be prepared to forgive yourself and other people. Carrying regrets with you is just punishing yourself for something you can’t change. Hardly a great strategy. Face up to the mistake you may have made and consciously forgive yourself for it.
Try to live in the present. Our minds spend a lot of time recalling the past or thinking about the future. We can’t change the past so nothing is to be gained by fretting over it and it rarely improves things by being anxious about the future. The present is where life is actually happening and it’s the only place where you have some control over events. Living in the present isn’t always easy. Meditation is a good way to help achieve a calmer, more aware mind.
Get back into the real world.
Dwelling on past regrets is a good way to depress and isolate yourself, so why would you go there? If you are struggling with regrets, take some positive steps to reengage with the world. Join a group which shares your interests. Join a club, an exercise class or contact some old friends. Any action that gets you out of your shell and back into the world is a good start.
Talk to someone. Bottling up your emotions rarely helps. Find someone you feel comfortable with and talk to them about the past issues that are worrying you. If you don’t have any friends or family you want to share your regrets with, try a counsellor or a life coach.
We have produced a range of books which contain lots of good advice on how to get more happiness into your life. For more information, check this website.