There are significant reasons not to regret the past and those mistakes that haunt you to this day. Life is full of regrets and "if only's" that can consume your thoughts and shape your actions for the future. Regrets can drag you down and lay a heavy burden of guilt and shame on you that impairs your ability to enjoy life! Instead of dwelling on the what's already been and gone, enjoy these reasons not to regret the past and take them to heart!
1. You Learn from Your Mistakes
One of the primary reasons not to regret the past is that you can use almost anything as a learning opportunity. Mistakes teach us how not to do something and give us the ability to relate to other people who may have had similar experiences. I've found that if you learn why you made the mistake in the first place, you'll know how to change that behavior for next time and you'll be able to counsel others as well.
2. It Shapes You into a Better Person
The strongest people are the ones with an incredible story to tell of how they overcame past mistakes and debilitating habits. I think of drug abusers and addicts who overcome their addiction and who now have an amazing story to share to inspire others with. Not only that, you rise from past mistakes as a better person if you choose to not let them define you and to simply move on. Learn from them, change your behavior and become a better person from it all!
3. Life is Messy and Imperfect
We're all human and therefore we all make mistakes. One of the beautiful things about life that it's messy, unpredictable, and imperfect. Just like a diamond in the rough, through imperfections, perfection and beauty are found in contrast. So, don't celebrate your past mistakes by any means but take note that literally everyone makes them which will ease your mind into letting them go.
4. It Reveals Your Changeable Areas
Our bad choices have a way of bringing to the surface those qualities we need to change about ourselves. For example, maybe you're afraid of failing so you didn't take that promotion, or you said no to a marriage proposal out of fear. Don't let fear dictate your life (or any other negative emotion)! Change the areas that inhibit your life from flourishing and I guarantee you'll be in a much happier place.
5. It's a Waste of Time
Simply put, regret is a huge waste of your time. Time is precious and you can never get it back once it's gone. So don't dwell on things that are in the past because not only is that useless energy, mistakes made in the past are meant to stay there and they can't be changed. However, If what you're dwelling on is about something you said or did to someone that deserves an apology, even if it was from a while back, then be humble and apologize. That's truly the only way to let something go when you've offended someone else. If they don't respond with acceptance, you can know that you did absolutely all that you could to put the past behind you.
6. It Causes Useless Stress and Anxiety
We are a stressed-out and anxious generation! With all the busyness of life, we have gained enormous amounts of stress and anxiety that's quite unhealthy in more ways than one. Why add more stress and worry to your life by dwelling on past regrets?
7. You Can Never Change the past
And finally, a sound reason not to regret your past blunders (unless you've committed some atrocious crime against humanity), is that you can never change the past. And, think of it this way: the past is not part of you currently, only the present is. And the present is what dictates your future. So, change what you want about yourself now which will impact your future!
Having past regrets are not the same thing as feeling badly at one time or another for the things you've done wrong. That's a healthy emotion, sometimes labeled as guilt or shame, that leads us to eventually do what's right. When you dwell on those mistakes, regretting the past and wishing things happened differently over and over again, is what you want to avoid. Let's get the conversation going: what positive changes have you seen in your life after letting go of past regrets?