The Constant Game of Regret

Woulda, coulda, shoulda.

Odds are, you regret more than one thing in your life. Whether it’s a previous relationship, educational choice, job, or that one moment when you should have said yes or no. We’ve all been there. As we live our lives, the constant game of regret is neverending.

Why do we regret so much?

If you’re lucky to live your life without regret, good for you. Many people aren’t that lucky.

Regret can eat at you longer than it should. You start to wonder, “I should have…” or “Why did I say…?” Your imagination starts to create different scenarios with outcomes you’ll never experience. These imagined outcomes fester in your brain and create alternate outcomes that stress you out more.

Constantly wondering “what if” drives us crazy.

Sometimes regret comes years later after you’ve had time to process things or during an evaluation of your life. This form of regret can cause temporary emotions, but since you’re so far removed from it, the imagined outcome doesn’t bother you as much unless the past decision is impacting your present life.

We can’t help but regret certain choices.

I’ve fallen victim to this mental deceit more than I’d like to admit.  I know how to find that one little thing that I could have done better and it annoys me.

Focus on the now.

“We all make mistakes, have struggles, and even regret things in our past. But you are not your mistakes, you are not your struggles, and you are here NOW with the power to shape your day and your future.”

― Steve Maraboli, Unapologetically You: Reflections on Life and the Human Experience

So what’s the message here? We can’t rewind time. Regret isn’t always delusional. Learn from what you feel was a mistake, but don’t let it mentally destroy you. Sometimes there is an element to learn. To improve.

What’s done is done. It will be hard. Nothing is easy. We experience new things each day. Regret is bound to reappear, but stay focused on the positive outcomes from your choices. There’s always some good that came out of a decision. Whether that positive is large or small, it’s always present.

Regret is part of life. It’s normal. It’s annoying. In the end, it can be enlightening.