4 Ways to Avoid Regret

There will come moments and memories that weigh upon you most heavily. They will come as sure as shadows that lengthen throughout the day, heralding twilight and the creeping darkness.

There will surely come this time of shadows, where long buried thoughts, lost opportunities and scattered misdeeds march before you in a flickering and haunting procession, until you recognize each and every regret you sought to leave behind.

Like a menagerie of suitors vying for your attention, they will be unrelenting. Don’t despair. 

It’s often just a trick of the light. The dawn will come once again and there are strategies for navigating this dark forest, or at least for not entering its deepest, most forbidding chambers.

There are countless ways to frame your thoughts and your life to avoid some of life’s most pervasive potential regrets.

For instance, you will never regret making the call you’ve been putting off to a friend or loved one. You may be feeling lost or crippled by inertia, trepidation or existential ennui. But that call you’ve been avoiding does not have to remain a potential shadow. You can make that call today and feel the warmth of a familiar voice, and feel this particular shadow retreat back into the darkness.

Here are several of our favorite ways to avoid regret:

1. Following your heart and your passions and remaining true to the dreams of your youth

It is well documented and perfectly understandable that when discussing their most profound regrets in life the vast majority of people who are facing death, illness or advanced age turn to lamenting the things they dreamed of doing but did not get around to or were afraid to do at the time.

2. Being present and happy in the moment

This is not the same as living for the moment, which implies a more spontaneous and happy-go-lucky approach. It means deeply acknowledging and recognizing how precious each moment is while you are in it. It means doing your best to be happy and positive because you actually feel gratitude for every gift you’ve been given in that particular moment or day. It means embracing life and bearing witness to it.

3. Listening to you gut, your instincts and your body

Your body is your best and most enduring ally in life. You would do well to heed it’s counsel and take good care of it for the long road ahead. It is your best compass through so many storms and becalmings.  Remember, “The pessimist complains about the wind. The optimist expects it to change. The realist adjusts the sails.” = William Arthur Ward . Take a bearing and stay the course, adjusting your sails as each situation requires.

4. Letting courage and intuition guide you instead of fear

Fear is loath to leave once it’s taken refuge in your heart. Refuse it entry if possible. Upon discovery, exorcise it immediately and with extreme prejudice, before it takes root. Cultivate your intuition and call upon your courage when needed. They will answer the call and light the way. For instance, always, always speak up for yourself if you feel wronged and and speak for those in need of defending. You will never, ever regret this!

Final thoughts

Regret is of no value to carry for long. Instead, fix what you can and move forward. There are new people, places and experiences waiting, but you must choose to cut the rope, lighten your load and free yourself. There is no point in getting stuck where the shadows linger and the sun rarely ever pierces.

You may be drawn to reenter the timber line on occasion but sometimes the best way to not get caught in a forest and the shadows found within it is to skirt it altogether.

Lisa Ryan LPC

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