What if? If only? Wow! Here are two words that can torment the minds of most mature, rational people for a life-time… two words that bring so much hostility, unreasonable expectations and sadness to the self. These little words are the basis for negative self images, our ability to doubt and second guess ourselves as well as our means of locking our minds into the past.

We can regret things we say, do, believe, people we have known, mistakes we have made, lies we have told and words we have used to wound others with. We can also regret those things and opportunities we did not do. If only I tried this, if only I listened to her, I really wanted to but I was afraid… if only I did! One could probably fill a room with examples that highlight regret.

If we accept that we have established some regrets in life, what can we do about it and how do we not accumulate any more than we already have? Until we can put our regrets aside and accept them for what they are – the past – we can never be truly free to experience our life. It takes time to loosen their grip within our mind and for them to not affect us emotionally anymore – because they do. Time, although an over-used adage, really does give one space to detach emotionally from something so, allowing oneself some time can help. In the here and now, however, one needs to believe we are not a bad person just because we may have/have not done something we consider, with our values and judgements, to be wrong. The toughest critic we will ever face is ourselves!

Many things we regret can make us feel angry with ourselves so we need to make choices by consciously accepting that this is our choice and then feel content with the decision. Some moments of choice are life-changing moments because they alter the path we are on while helping to create the next part of our journey, too. What might have been can’t be a consideration later on because our choices ruled them out beforehand. Why would we want to be angry with ourselves about the life we chose for us? If we wanted the other life, we would have chosen it, or we would make it happen now.

If our choices do not work out the way we expected them to, know this moment is never wasted. No experience is ever wasted despite how we might feel. We need to experience exactly what we experience in order to understand ourselves and our world, better. One ought never to regret that for it is the whole point of our lives… learning from experience is how we gain wisdom and develop understanding about us as a person.

When we give up things that are important to us, are we as aware as we ought to be about the effect this might have on us, not only at the time of our choice, but later on especially? To farewell a part of our lives… one that represents a large part of our core essence and our beliefs about ourselves, is so monumental that perhaps here is where we ought to take the time to think our decisions through.

Giving some part of us up (for whatever reason) is final and this is when regret accumulates; when we do not take the time to consider the consequences of our actions. When one is denying a part of the self whilst regretting it in every moment, one begins to live a lie.

Above all else, one needs to be accountable. If we made the choice, we accept that there is no blame, not even of ourselves. To be accountable is to be honest about our life; allowing what has been to stay behind us. Look at how our life is right now, in today, and make choices that we wish to make so that we can create a tomorrow that is filled with our sense of happiness. Be happy right now by feeling content with where and who we are because we are experiencing our life and not just observing it.

We need to make decisions with awareness whilst allowing our heart to have a say, too. If what we choose is in keeping with whom we believe we are, there can be no room for regret… only learning and self discovery.