4 Steps to Process Regret

ImageIn THIS post, I talked about freeing “energy” to think about the future.

Today I am putting this into practice, in context of regret. This applies to small regrets, and big ones too.

It’s my last day of freedom before I return to work. In the two hours I have been up this morning it has been easy to focus it on how un-restful this last week has been. How busy, and un-ideal, and un-vacation-y.

Why do we do this? Here’s my hypothesis, beyond the need to process when things “don’t go our way”, I think we feel it helps to justify our upset/regret/sad feelings. I think that it is part of us grieving the past pieces in life that didn’t go the way we wanted them too…BUT I think we are doing it in a way that is hurting us. It may feel good, but it’s hurting us.

If I go on with the rest of my last summer day, focusing on all that this last week could’a, would’a, should’a been… I will only have MORE could’a, would’a, should’a-s at the end of the day. Somehow I want to learn to…

1. Truly grieve and process the loss (that this week was not as fulfilling as I had dreamed), BUT THEN…

2. Taking responsibility for our part, if applicable (so that we know how to help not repeat it)

3. Look for ways to be grateful in that area of disappointment… things I may be overlooking

4. Take the energy put towards ‘replaying the past’, dwelling on the past, making lists of all the things that went wrong in the week (am I the only one who does that?) and justifying our regret… and put that emotional/mental/physical energy TOWARDS making a difference with what I can make a difference in (the entire rest of the day!)

This insures that I am not being shallow in moving forward, but INTENTIONAL about having a good rest of the day. Or, for some regrets, this can be having a good rest of my LIFE! Here’s what this practice looks like for me today:

(PART 1) I am disappointed that so many things came up this week that were out of my control. I am sad that in some ways it hindered me from truly enjoying my last week off work. That stinks. I work hard and do deserve to find rest.  (PART 2) I also never defined or planned out this week on what I wanted it to look like, I also have let little disappointments turn into bigger ones. I also need to work on letting the feeling of REST not be connected to my workload; learning to feel REST in spite on my circumstances. (PART 3) There have actually been some pretty AMAZING things about this week, like making fried chicken with my sister. I am also grateful that the big life decisions that came up this week, making life “busy”, didn’t come up next week during my first week back at work which will only be busier! Now I have the margin to deal with it, but then I won’t. (PART 4) Towards the rest of the day I have left, I will make it a priority to go to a coffee shop and read a book that I have been wanting to read. I will drive slowly and take my time with today. I will have a heart of gratitude that I have another entire morning and half-afternoon before commitments begin today.

OKAY! It’s your turn! Try these four steps (or adapt them!) to work on a regret that you have this week either big or small!


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