Today we’re going to delve into something that’s not normally linked to motivation, but a powerful motivator nonetheless.
It comes when we don’t take action, when we make mistakes, when we wrong ourselves or somebody else.
As a result, we’ll feel a twang of regret, deep guilt, or something in between.
What are we to do when dealing with regret?
Regret at its Best
Regret can be painful, but it serves a purpose.
It can bring us to awareness of bad habits, leading us to a positive change in behavior.
It can help us develop characteristics in the areas that we feel would have served us better in situations that have gone wrong in the past.
Regret can be a vehicle to personal growth as we come to the awareness that we could be doing better in a certain area of life. This awareness gets us ready to make some changes.
Regret at its Worst
It’s all good when we finally make the effort not to snooze through those hours of morning jog sunlight because we regret not being as fit as we could, but what happens when we allow regret to become something more than just motivation?
Regret is going to hurt us if we allow it to consume our attention and focus, even after making necessary changes.
Replaying the failures in our minds can be relentless.
Going past the point of healthy awareness for change and into this heavy place can be detrimental to our growth.
Too Much Regret?
Let’s say there was something that meant a lot to us but we straight up didn’t do it.
We’ll feel regret, and then we’ll see that it was because of a character deficiency like laziness, fear, or whatever flaw that caused inaction.
This can be a good thing to pin point where we need to change, but if we focus on these character flaws too much and attribute them to who we are, it can put us into a fixed mindset where we don’t see much hope for change in ourselves or circumstances.
When we’re in a fixed mindset, we’ll give into the lie that the way we are is the way we are and there’s nothing we can do about it.
Putting too much attention and focus on regret can waste a whole lot of energy too.
The mental energy required to conjure up visualizations of past failures can weaken our resolve to develop a certain skill set, build up meaningful relationships, chase a goal, or anything else we want to accomplish.
To understand more of why being habitually and unnecessarily regretful is so powerful in diminishing self motivation, it’d be good to understand the subconscious.
The subconscious mind is very powerful, but it doesn’t know the difference between what is going on in reality versus what is just being thought up in the mind.
This is why dwelling too much on our failures can cause us to feel the same emotional response we felt when the actual event was happening.
It’s mentally exhausting and it takes an emotional toll.
When we dwell in regret for too long, we are inviting more and more regret and negativity as we bring back those negative emotions into our lives.
It’s good to acknowledge regret and acknowledge that we need to change to reach our ideal, but not to focus on our lack every waking moment of the day.
Teacher or Tormentor?
Visualizing our failings for too long causes us to start to attribute the reasons we didn’t take action to ourselves and our value.
This can be a torment for those who dwell on these thoughts for too long without changing thought patterns.
Instead of sulking in regret, we can be mindful of the situation, recognize the feeling of regret, accept it without letting it swallow up our focus, and let it generate the drive to adapt and grow.
If regret is consuming to the point of convincing you of negative beliefs, take a step back, and instead, focus on your game plan on how you are going to reach the level you want to be on.
Use regret as a teacher in all areas of life to come to awareness and increase your drive to take action in your goals.
Don’t allow regret to run you into a ditch. Keep it on that teacher level so that it serves you.
Our soul can speak to us through regret, telling us that something needs to be done, changed, or forgiven.