Regret is often the outcome of failure. Sometimes it is the result of a poor decision. Sometimes it’s a hard lesson learned. Regret, at its core, is an emotion. But you do not have to feel regret at all when you think of your past decisions that turned out less than stellar. You might even need to be thankful that it happened.
Failure, poor decisions, or whatever, it all builds character. Our character is continuously changed and shaped throughout our lifetime. The only way to do that is through experience. The experiences you have, good and bad, will ultimately build your character in a better and stronger version of what you started with.
There’s a Reason for Everything
“Everything happens for a reason” is super cliché, but it’s the truth. Be it a bad relationship or a misstep on an important work or school assignment, there is a reason why it happened. Sometimes that reason is just learning a lesson (start early on a big project), or maybe that bad relationship allowed you to meet the love of your life. When regret weighs heavy, take a step back and look at the big, interlocking picture of your life.
We all have to learn lessons. That’s just a fact of life. Instead of regretting every past decision, look back at all the lessons you have learned and the wisdom you now have to move forward more prepared than when you started. Be thankful for the opportunity to learn.
Success Isn’t Free
No success is free. For every achievement you see, someone somewhere had to pay for it. So, you might as well pay for your own success. For every failure you experience in life, every regret you feel to your bones, you are that much closer to succeeding, to having paid your dues, learned your lessons, and having every tool you need in your toolbox to make your success happen.
Regret and success are fickle creatures. You cannot have one without the other. However, sometimes we become so caught up in the woes of remorse that we can’t see the success just over the horizon or that with every failure, we have marked off another way not to succeed. Reframing your regret will open up a new world of possibilities for your past decisions and your future self.