“You can avoid self-judgment, self-abuse, and regret by simply doing your best in any situation.” ~Don Miguel Ruiz
The other day, I told my niece, who has grown up, how I regretted selling my downtown apartment a few years ago.
“No,” she said. “You told me then that you noticed a lack of light reaching you. You weren’t happy there.
I had no memory of it until she reminded me. And to my surprise, it removed a lot of my bitter regret about it.
It got me thinking about other things I regretted. Am I remembering them correctly, or am I correcting history? So am I suffering needlessly?
Memories are funny. We usually don’t remember all the details of the situation. we pick and choose.
For example, my regrets when I sold my condo focused on losing that cool place, recognizing how it increased in value, and reflecting on the many good times I had there with friends and family. rice field.
My memory is of how much construction has been done in this place over the last few years, how two of my favorite restaurants closed, how the best neighborhood coffee shop in the world went down. Whether they went out of business or not was not included.
Unfortunately my mental anguish is based on very limited data, some of which are no longer relevant.
Isn’t it funny?
Is it possible that all our regrets are not taking into account enough information to help us feel more at peace in these distressing situations?
I decided to sit down and reflect on some other regrets. Is it possible to alleviate some of my suffering by broadening my perspective on suffering?
Here’s how I reconciled with my regrets:
Step 1: Reflect on your regrets and think about everything that happened when you were disappointed.
Take my early singer/songwriter career, for example. Looking back, I felt regret and deep pain in my heart for not recording my songs on the album.
During those years, a lot of things were going on surrounding my career. Especially since I wasn’t completely happy. I spent more time reading self-help and spiritual books than practicing my craft.
I had a hard time engaging with other musicians. And I had a really bad time with record executives and producers. I didn’t like how they treated me.
I even had a manager ghosted me. And that was before I knew what a ghost was.
Plus, I used to hang out at smoky bars on the go, which was really hard for me, who never smoked or drank.
And since I spent so much time with my guitar and myself alone as a solo performer, I could afford to spend days and days and weeks alone in strange communities and eating in bad restaurants.
Ha! Do you find it eye-opening when you recall the details around your regrets? I honestly forgot all about it until I did this exercise.
Step 2: I reflected on how this big picture influenced the outcome I now regret.
For me, there was nothing exciting or exciting about the days leading up to my path as a musician.
Everything seemed very difficult. Finding places to perform, driving long distances, meeting executives who were evaluating me and my music, dealing with agents and other musicians, losing family members.
It was all hard. And I didn’t like it.
I dreamed of finding a colleague who would help me realize my potential as an artist. With the exception of a handful, the people I worked with seemed more interested in pushing themselves forward.
It feels familiar.
I enjoyed living and working in New York City and Los Angeles, but I am a Canadian citizen and could not get a proper work visa.
In other words, I was careful not to get caught by frequently going back and forth across the border.
Step 3: I sought another way of looking at the situation, often called “reframing”.
Reframing is exactly what it sounds like. Maybe if you had a 24″ x 24″ frame and placed it over a very large painting, you could focus on the section of the painting within the frame.
But what about those giant paintings around it? Move the frame to see different parts of the photo.
What if you stretched the frame to the full size of the entire canvas? Now you see a very different image.
In this way, we can reframe our life situations. By moving the frame, and especially by enlarging it, we can see a different picture of reality.
Looking back at everything that was going on in my early music career, I started to see the big picture. And guess what? I felt the pain of regret ease from my heart.
Of course I quit that career!
Of course I was unhappy!
Of course, we couldn’t achieve our goal of making an album. Circumstances were not going to support it, no matter how hard I tried.
Step 4: I made peace with what I once regretted.
Sure, sitting here right now with MP3s of my songs in album form sounds great.
But there was always a chance it wouldn’t be something I’d be proud of.
And what happened instead of sticking with my music career?
I went home to my family, went back to school and had a great time learning, writing and studying exciting and engaging topics.
Returning to school has given me the opportunity, as an adult, to explore my true self, find my true passions, and work on how to share those passions with the world.
College was the best time of my life.
This exercise healed me. No more emotional pain that was previously seen as disappointment in one’s life.
I now have insights that lead me to believe that the music business was not my passion, it was not my purpose, and it never made me happy.
This wonderful insight gives me great relief. I found peace where there was once the emotional pain of regret.
I hope you will try these steps yourself to learn how to reconcile with your regrets.