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How do you overcome regret?

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How do you overcome regret?

Postby monarch » Fri Sep 30, 2011 6:05 pm

I am trying hard but not able to overcome regret for a HUGE mistake I made. I can't forgive myself and I can't move on. The only person affected is me, but I feel I have ruined my life.

I know I can never go back in time and change things, and I'll probably never be able to forgive myself for cheating myself out of the best opportunity in my life.

But I am so worn out with this and I need to find peace. For a while, I wanted to end it all just to end the pain and suffering of regret. But now I realize that I just need to make peace with this. But I can't move on. How do you do it? How do you move on after something like this? I am haunted by grief and regret every moment of every day.
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Re: How do you overcome regret?

Postby Chucky » Sat Oct 01, 2011 9:11 pm

I believe that you have to weigh up the following two: 1) The worth of suffering for the rest of your life based on something that can never be changed; against 2) Accepting what happened and moving on. I won't ever recommend 'forgetting' bad events from our pasts, as that is a recipe for ultimately developing PTSD. Instead, you have to analyse the event, understand why it happened, and then learn to accept that what happened, happened.

There is unfortunately no way to change the past, but that doesn't mean that the future has to be bad. Tomorrow is a new day for you. it's the first day of the rest of your life, so go live it.

Kevin
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Re: How do you overcome regret?

Postby Platypus » Sun Oct 02, 2011 3:59 am

Gee monarch, it sounds like you are really beating yourself up about this. :(
We all make mistakes. As Einstein said: "Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new."

I've had some great opportunities in my life. A lot I never took advantage of...because I was too scared, too depressed, or didn't recognise them for what they were. Some I'll probably see the likes of again. But so what? I will find and create new opportunities. You will too! As Kevin wrote, tomorrow is a new day. :)

Have you ever played snakes and ladders? Sometimes you go up a ladder and it's great. Other times you slide down a dirty big snake. But you just keep working your way up the board, and eventually you get to the end square. So stop punishing yourself because you missed a ladder. You can climb up the next one! :wink:
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Re: How do you overcome regret?

Postby Living Well » Sun Oct 02, 2011 10:58 am

Hi monarch,

Your regret seems to be a mixture of sadness and guilt - both different emotions to be managed differently.

To manage sadness, you get active, you do things that make you feel good about yourself.

To manage guilt, if you can make the situation better in any way you do that, you do nice things for the person you have hurt (which in this case is you), you commit to not making the same mistake again, you accept the consequences of your mistake gracefully, and you repeatedly acknowledge the reality of the situation as it is, not how you'd like it to be. you have to constantly let that guilt, shame, remorse go, every time it comes up. Let go of your clutch on it. You will survive without that remorse.

I think we all have to accept that sh!t happens in life and no matter how carefully we try to live our lives, as flawed humans, we are all guaranteed to make mistakes, big ones and a lot of them.

Enjoy what you do have in life - which is A LOT - rather than get too caught up in what could have been.

By refusing to get caught up in what could have been - and accepting reality for what is - you put yourself back in the drivers seat of your own life.

You got to make that decision to accept life as it is over and over and over and over and over again.

It can be done... afterall, us, your fellow humans, have to do it all the time too. xxx
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Re: How do you overcome regret?

Postby monarch » Mon Oct 03, 2011 3:48 am

Thank you for these great helpful replies. I am trying, really really trying, to move on and put this behind me. No matter what I do, it all just keeps replaying over and over in my head and I just keep kicking myself. I'm trying to accept it, to stop punishing myself, to look at tomorrow as a new day....but I just keep reliving the whole situation in my head nonstop. And what I should have done differently, the choice I should have made. I want to forgive myself, but I just can't. This is such a heavy weight, and so exhausting, and yet I can't let it go. I am so mad at myself for being stupid. And for always being too scared to have any faith in myself or take chances.
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Re: How do you overcome regret?

Postby Living Well » Mon Oct 03, 2011 3:58 am

Can you tell us what it is?
Maybe articulating it, expressing it can help you externalise it?
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Re: How do you overcome regret?

Postby monarch » Mon Oct 03, 2011 3:10 pm

Basically, I was called in at work and the big bosses were all standing there. I was terrified and thought I was going to be fired or in big trouble for something. (I am always a very scared person and not good at social situations, and I get extremely terrified if everyone is looking at me.) As I walked in, barely able to walk for fear and thinking I was going to faint, they immediately asked if I'd move up to a higher position. I was so shocked at the sudden change (expecting to be fired) that I stammered that I didn't think I was qualified, and that was the end of it. They took it seriously, as though that was my answer instead of an instinctual response with no thought behind it. I was so scared I rushed out of the room. I regretted it immediately, but they called someone else in and the job is gone. It is not likely, realistically, that I'll ever get offered anything like that again. Such chances are very rare. In our terrible economy over here, they are more than rare. That job was more secure, whereas where I am now is not very secure. I am stuck in a dead-end forever, barely making enough to survive. The new opportunity would have given me enough money to live a little more decently (afford better food, afford heat in the winter, could go to a doctor if I got sick, etc.) And I threw it all away. But I didn't mean to. I was just so caught off guard and unprepared.

I want to accept this loss and move on. But I can't. I can't let it go no matter how hard I try. I could have lived better, had more security and freedom, had more reasons to make life worth living. I ruined my life and I can't go back and change it. But I can't let it go!! My brain goes over and over it, replaying it over and over, and I can't make it stop no matter what I do. It haunts me day and night. I feel sick about it, the opportunity I threw away in a moment of terror without meaning to, and no matter how hard I wish, I can't go back in time and change it. So I want to move on. My brain won't let me. I want peace but the regret is too strong and it won't leave. It's like I just can't let go no matter what. I just can't forgive myself.
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Re: How do you overcome regret?

Postby Living Well » Mon Oct 03, 2011 9:31 pm

I've got ideas for you monarch, but can't write them out atm. I'll come back to this thread. Promise.
Jade x
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Re: How do you overcome regret?

Postby Platypus » Mon Oct 03, 2011 9:45 pm

I don't blame you for reacting the way you did when you were confronted by the big bosses. It's unfortunate the opportunity was sprung on you like that.

Do you think you could talk to one of the bosses, or maybe write them a letter? For your own peace of mind, it might be worth telling them that on that occasion you were very nervous, and should another opportunity arise in the future you would like to be considered for a higher position.

They must think highly of you if they offered you the job. I don't think their impression of you would have changed by your response to the promotion. Better job opportunities may be hard to find in these times, but they will come again. People resign, leave for another job or location, go on maternity leave etc. You might get a similar offer sooner than you expect.

One of my regrets is turning down a job I wanted. I had two job offers - one for a 'dream job', and another one that paid better. I listened to the people around me rather than myself. And I was thinking about my boyfriend at the time, and how he'd want me to take the job with better pay (he was a 'spender'), and closer to home (he'd always complain that I worked too late).

It was a bad decision, and I ended-up resigning from the job that I chose not long after because I hated it. But it was never worth feeling bad about. I know why I chose the 'wrong' job. I can understand why I reacted the way I did. Next time I will be more careful and will use this experience to make a better choice.
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Re: How do you overcome regret?

Postby Living Well » Tue Oct 04, 2011 11:09 am

Hi Monarch,
I know I said I would reply but I've decided to leave the forum... and thankfully I see Platypus has already given you a great response. I wish you all the best with it.
Cheers,
Jade x
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