Past regrets are the worst, aren’t they? As you feel you could have done more to prevent or change the outcome of a situation.
So, to support you with this, I believe the four powerful tools I’m sharing in today’s blog post, will change your world and how you approach past regrets.
Having past regrets is like being kicked in the stomach.
Because when it happens, it really, really hurts, and you feel like there is no coming back from it.
You feel like, you’ll never be able to shake off the feelings of guilt, shame, embarrassment and the overall dissatisfaction, you feel towards it.
As you’re left with nothing, but a memory and a difficult/painful emotion to go with it.
Along with, thoughts and feelings around what those involved might have (or still do) thought and felt about you.
However, the good news is, the clue to overcoming past regrets is to change how you think and feel about the event(s), which you are regretting.
Hence, what the four tools for transformation, I’m discussing today, aim to do.
As they support you in reclaiming your personal power and transforming the situation(s) in your mind, precisely by altering the way you think and feel about those particular event(s).
So, without further ado, let’s get going.
Number one reason why we have past regrets?
Wishing we did or said something differently or not at all
A main reason, you might be regretting the past events, which took place in your life is because you wish you did or had said something differently to what you had.
Or that you hadn’t did or said anything at all.
Therefore, you think over and over again, what you would have (or would not have) done or said differently.
As a result, playing with your mind and emotions.
As you recount over and over again (in your mind and body), the pain of experiencing that difficult memory and situation.
And you experience the same shame, embarrassment and your dissatisfaction of it, all over again, as you recount it.
As if it happened yesterday.
When it might have been a year ago, two years ago, three years ago and beyond.
Therefore, leaving you feeling stuck and unable to move forward with your life.
And blaming yourself, your past and others for the outcome of your situation today.
The mental and emotional energy you expend thinking and feeling about the situation
Before you can transform how you think and feel about your past regrets, however, you need to first realise, you are wasting the valuable and precious time you have on this planet.
As you recount the same situation(s) over and over again in your mind and body as if it/they happened yesterday.
When as I say it took place one year, two years, three years ago etc.
Reason 1 – The past is the past
The first reason for this (and yes it’s an obvious one, I know) is at the end of the day, the past is the past, and rehashing the past is not going to make life better.
Since it’s physically not mentally (I’ll explain this later) impossible to go back to the past and change what we believe happened.
So all you can do at this moment in time, is to take an action and make a different choice going forward.
Reason 2 – Past regrets are a waste of your valuable and precious time on this planet
Another reason why having past regrets is a waste of your valuable and precious time on this planet, is exactly the fact…
You keep recounting the situation in the exact same way as it happened.
So the same thoughts and feelings swirl around in your head again and again.
Therefore, costing you the time and money you essentially could have spent in therapy with a Counselling Psychologist/Psychotherapist.
Except, you would have got a far better outcome.
As you wouldn’t have felt the exact same way you did years later after the event took place, you would have a better life than the one you have, and you’d probably be earning more money.
As you would have instead rediscovered your very own personal power to make different choices to the ones you have been making.
Therefore, enabling you to change your life for the better.
Because at the minute, you’re getting stuck in your thoughts and feelings of the past.
- Acknowledging what you are currently thinking and feeling about the situation (taking on 100% responsibility for what you are thinking, feeling and believing, by being honest with yourself)
- Showing yourself understanding, empathy and compassion for the action you took/did not take, by acknowledging and sticking by the decision(s) you made or did not make; and
- Thinking of a solution/finding a way to implement the solution into your life, so the same or a similar situation, doesn’t happen again.
Therefore, are literally putting an imaginary barrier in your own mind, which translates into a physical barrier.
So is stopping you from taking action to quickly transform what you are thinking and feeling about your past regrets.
And confidently moving past your regrets.
Therefore, giving away your personal power to the situations and people included in your regrets of the past.
Caveat to putting into practice the tools for transformation
Before I get into what the tools are, I want to add a caveat.
Which is, to bear in mind, these tools aren’t to be used once or twice and forgotten about.
But, in fact, are to be implemented daily, over months and years, for the full benefits of them to be fully realized by you.
Therefore, allowing you to become a master of them.
As a result, what you need to do is create a daily practice around them.
Whether it’s 30 minutes, an hour, two hours or more of dedicated time to them.
And don’t forget, you can implement these at any age and whatever gender or race you are, as these tools do not discriminate.
Related: 3 Tools to grow outside therapy
Powerful Tool for Transformation to Implement on Past Regrets #1: Reframing
The first tool for transformation for moving past your life regrets, therefore, is to reframe them.
What it means to reframe your regrets of the past?
What I mean by reframing your regrets of the past, is ultimately to, develop a different understanding of the situation(s) you are regretting.
Which involves, going within and delving deeper into what you’re feeling and what the feeling you are experiencing is about (avoid asking a ‘Why’ question).
Often, but not always, with the support of meditation.
Let’s say someone speaks to you a certain way you don’t like, or you react in a certain negative way towards another.
You can decide at any point, to stop, pause and reflect on the situation in your mind, so you can ask yourself again and again:
What that event was about? And question …
What was behind your reaction.
To allow your subconscious mind to come up with an answer at some point to your question, if not at that moment.
And, it is from the insight you receive by asking yourself those questions to yourself…
Where you can identify and implement a solution to what you are thinking and feeling regarding those situations.
For instance, by perhaps implementing a mantra of some kind.
Caveat to Reframing your Past Regrets
Now, I’m not saying this is easy, which is why I suggest you work with a Counselling Psychologist/Psychotherapist.
Because it’s easy for us to get locked into thinking, feeling and perceiving the situations in our life from a certain level of mind.
Instead of considering how else we can view the situations and people in our life.
And a Counselling Psychologist/Psychotherapist can support you in:
A) Seeing the situations you are regretting, from a different angle
B) Showing you over and over again, how to action these steps to your very personal and specific struggles; and they can provide you with…
C) Coping with the difficult thoughts and feelings, which may arise as a result of your questioning.
Therefore, enabling you to be able to identify key themes between:
- The events you are regretting in your past; and
- Other areas of your life
As the two are interlinked.
And eventually implementing the tools yourself.
And, the more you are able to identify key themes in the situations/events, which make you feel a certain way…
The more capable you’ll be at reframing your past regrets and not allowing similar situations to take place in your life again.
Powerful Tool for Transformation to Implement on Past Regrets #2: Visualisation, Rescripting and Reimagining
Remember how earlier I said you cannot physically go back to the past and change it?
Well, as I said, the same isn’t true when you go back with your mind.
Since yours and everyone else’s mind on this planet is the most powerful tool there is.
Precisely because it is capable of visualization and imagining.
And why athletes use the exact same tool for success.
Which is the really cool and fun bit about this exercise.
As it makes you feel empowered and more confident the more you put it into practice.
Therefore, a tool you can absolutely utilise to overcome your past regrets.
How it works
So, the way this work is by you:
- Imagining the individual event or events, which did take place
- Take out a piece of paper and a pen and literally rescript the scenario (like a scriptwriter would do with a play or TV show).
- Reimagining the new scenario as if this was the scenario, which took place; and
- Actioning these steps on each event you regret, over and over again, until you think and feel differently about the event or events, which took place.
Breakdown of exercise steps
So in this exercise, you would firstly script, what you (and anyone else involved) said.
Secondly, you would close your eyes, go back in your minds eye to the scenario, physically feeling as though you’re walking into the scenario in your mind, as you might walk into a TV/Movie screen if that was possible).
And thirdly, you would reimagine what you would have liked to have said or done as though the event was actually occurring today.
Pro Tip: If there are other people around in the scenario you are imagining, you can freeze them.
And ultimately, you do this over and over again on the scenario, until you literally begin to feel differently about the event both in your mind and body.
For instance, you might feel calmer and less angry and frustrated at yourself and the other person or people involved.
And once you feel differently about the situation, you can then move onto the next regret and so forth.
Caveat to Visualisation, Re-scripting and Re-imagining Tool
As with everything, however, there are some exceptions for the use of this tool.
For instance, you might have a memory of a past regret, but your mind and body will not allow you to sit still enough to undertake the exercise.
So you’ll feel like running and avoiding the situation.
And it is in this situation, where you would again benefit from working with a Counselling Psychologist/Psychotherapist.
Because they can support you in keeping calm, rescript-ing the situation for you and entering the situation with you, so you don’t feel alone (More on this in the next tool).
In addition, sometimes, it is about us learning the lesson that an event was brought in to teach us.
Therefore, it might require a different action to take and which, your Counselling Psychologist/Psychotherapist can point you towards taking.
The difference between recounting the situation as it is and Visualising, Rescripting and Reimagining?
You may be thinking this sounds like you’re lying to yourself; or
It isn’t going to change how others might be perceiving the situation, which is what is adding to your shame and embarrassment; or
Perhaps, there’s not that much of a difference between visualising, rescripting and reimagining the scenario, compared to, recounting the situation over and over again as it is.
But, firstly, it doesn’t matter how other people might be thinking and feeling about the situation.
All that matters, is that you change how you think and feel about the situation.
Why? because you are the one rehashing the scenario in your mind over and over again, not them.
And so, you are also the only one, wasting valuable mental and emotional energy thinking about the situation as it is.
Secondly, the sheer fact of replaying a scenario you would have preferred to have taken place in your mind over and over again…
Is where yours and everyone else’s power lies.
Since as I said, you can’t physically go back to the past and change it, but you can change and transform it in your mind.
So, you can eventually experience change in your life.
As you begin to talk to yourself differently and you feel confident in yourself.
And if a similar situation occurs next time…
You have the courage and confidence to do something differently to the first time you did it.
As you remove the mental barrier, which was originally standing in your way.
Because BELIEEEEVE me, different people may come and go into your life.
But the same patterns will emerge, until you take action to resolve them by vowing to do something differently.
Powerful Tool for Transformation to Implement on Past Regrets #3: Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) and Matrix Reimprinting
As mentioned, some past regrets, memories and situations/events, are going to be too painful for you to visualise, rescript and reimagine yourself.
In addition, you might not even be aware how a certain memory or event is impacting you.
Therefore, in this instance, you will want to implement EFT and Matrix Reimprinting on that specific past regret, memory/situation.
The reason for this is EFT (i.e. Tapping on Meridian Points in the body) allows you to ground yourself in the present moment to be able to visit that specific past regret, whilst the Matrix reimprinting tool works similarly to the rescripting and reimagining.
And, the use of a qualified practitioner allows for you to feel safe and supported, therefore, allowing you to be able to revisit that regret.
As someone more experienced and knowledgeable than you, imprints within your subconscious mind, more positive imagery and language to support you in transforming that experience within your own mind.
Consequently, having the same desired effect as visualising, rescripting and reimagining (changing the way you think and feel) about that past regret.
A Counselling Psychologist/Psychotherapist may be trained in both of the tools discussed so far.
However, you can also find a standalone EFT and Matrix Reimprinting practitioner here also if you’d prefer.
And to learn more about Matrix Reimprinting, check out my post on the Two therapeutic tools every therapist must know.
Powerful Tool for Transformation to Implement on Past Regrets #4: Mindfulness and Meditation
Whilst I am putting mindfulness and meditation at the end of my post.
Mindfulness, in fact, needs to be with you 24/7.
The reason for this is, it’s difficult to predict exactly when you’ll be triggered by a past regret or when a present event is going to knock you off your feet.
Therefore, mindfulness will act as the catalyst for identifying:
- What you’re thinking, feeling and believing and what it is about, in any specific moment
- Where in your body you are thinking, feeling and believing it; and
- What action you need to take to support you in overcoming it (e.g. a mantra, or changing the way you think about it).
Meditation, further, is important as it supports you in being able to be more mindful throughout your day.
So you’re less likely to be caught off guard and can remain present to the moment.
That’s not to say, you’re never caught off guard.
But the more you practice meditation, the more mindfulness becomes easier for you.
So, you really need to view the two as a duo.
Caveat to Mindfulness and Meditation
Although, if you are using events, situations, people and places to avoid how you’re really thinking and feeling then it will be more difficult for you to do.
Therefore, the final reason it is important to work with a Counselling Psychologist/Psychotherapist.
And, you implement more silence and solitude (no mobiles/laptops, no internet, no reading etc) within your day to reflect and think as I discuss in my post 3 Tools to Grow outside Therapy Sessions.
There it is…
Four powerful tools that will change your world and help you to overcome past regrets.
Including reframing your thoughts, visualising, rescripting and reimagining scenarios, Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT and Matrix reimprinting) and Mindfulness and Meditation.
As a result, providing you with the opportunity to transform the way you think and feel about your regrets of the past and other situations entering your life.