We all have regrets. Some are minor regrets and some are major regrets - and, depending on the magnitude and number of regrets we have, our ability to be truly happy could be seriously reduced.
There are regrets we have about things we have done and regrets we have about things we have not done.
As the quote here states, it's the regrets for things we have not done that could really destroy our overall happiness long-term.
Here are the main four types of regrets we can have in our lives which can affect our overall happiness...
Regrets We Have For Things We Have Done
In the upper left quadrant of this chart ("Regrets we already have about things we have done"), obviously, we cannot change the past. So, if you have regrets for something you did in the past, that action (whatever it was you did to cause the regret) can't be undone. You can, however, change the negative emotional response (the feeling of regret) you have to that action or event. Sometimes that's not easy.
For example, let's say you took illegal drugs when you were in high school - and it affected your life in some way (maybe, for example, it affected your school grades to a degree that you couldn't get into the college you preferred). You may have some serious regrets about doing those drugs now because it affected your life significantly. Maybe you couldn't even get into the career you wanted because of it.
Well, again, you can't undo the past. The damage is done, and it would be understandable for you to feel significant regret about the issue.
What can be done, though, to eliminate (or at least reduce) the regret is to do something related to the issue that would substitute a strong positive emotion for the negative (regret) feeling you have.
In the example above, maybe becoming a volunteer speaker against high school drug use could work. The sense of fulfillment, contribution, and "happiness" that could come from knowing you are helping kids stay off drugs could very easily eliminate the regret you may have - and in some cases even make you grateful for the "negative experience" since it could bring a whole new meaning and purpose to your life.
Regrets We Don't Have For Things We Have Done
The upper right quadrant of the chart ("Regrets we don't yet have about things we have done or will do") presents an interesting situation. You may ask, "how can I not have regrets for things I have already done?"
Well, it's easy. Here's an example. Let's say you're 25 years old and you have never focused on eating a healthy, nutritious diet - just eating junk food, drinking soft drinks, and snacking on sweets. Well, at 25 you probably feel fine and have no "regrets" for any of this. But now, fast-forward to 25 or 30 years from now. Think about yourself in your 50's, 60's and 70's. Think about being overweight, taking multiple prescription drugs for high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease. You feel tired and "sickly" much of the time. In this scenario, although you don't regret your unhealthy diet now (at the age of 25), you may have significant feelings of regret later in life.
The key in this situation is to think ahead. Consider how you want to feel and be later in life - and do something about it now!
This is just one of many examples of this regret scenario. Use it to start thinking about your own life 20, 30, 40, or 50 years from now and eliminate your future regrets by making some changes now.
Regrets We Have For Things We Have NOT Done
The lower left hand quadrant of the chart above ("Regrets we have about things we have not done") is one of the biggest types of regrets we can have - but also possibly one of the most easily addressed.
That's because the solution to eliminating this type of regret is to ...
just do it!!
I know that's not always as easy as I make it sound. Sure, if you regret never having been to the Olympics, for example, while there are time and money considerations - if you really wanted to make it happen, you could find a way (which is a topic for a different article). The point is, you could technically "just do it".
If, however, you are a 65 year old woman and regret never having children, it's probably not likely you will be able to get pregnant (although not impossible). Or, if you're a 50 year old man and you regret not having tried out for the NBA when you were 22, it's not likely you'll end up being an NBA player someday.
Again, though, there are many ways to substitute for these things you "regret not doing" in your life - and even to eliminate the regret you feel. In addition, these regrets can form the basis for eliminating the next type of regret, which is...
Regrets We Don't Have For Things We Have NOT Done
The lower right quadrant of the chart ("Regrets we don't yet have about things we have not done") is again very interesting - and perhaps very difficult to address.
If you have never climbed a large mountain, for example - and never really wanted to - but later in life you end up regretting not having done so (perhaps because later in life this could become of great interest to you), it's hard to "see the future" and deal with these kinds of issues. So, this is not easy.
The best way to eliminate ever having these kinds of regrets is to do what I suggest throughout this website and in my free Happiness Formula Video Course. That is:
Doing these things will help you minimize the chances you'll have any major regrets later in life, and more importantly, will start you on a path to total, lifelong happiness, fulfillment, and peace-of-mind.
Obviously, there is lots more to this issue of "Regrets" - and I'll be talking more about it in other articles here at BeHappy101.com and within other sections of this website, so come back soon for more on this important topic.
In the meantime, click here to get my FREE Happiness Formula Video Course, which explains everything you need to know to be totally happy in life (including information on eliminating regrets from your life). It's a gift from me for visiting BeHappy101.com.
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