Part of being human is to think on the past.
Sometimes this entails happiness, sometimes sadness. And sometimes regret.
regret (verb): to be very sorry for
I have gone through long periods of time — years — regretting missing out on life, wishing I had turned left instead of right and regretting the development of an eating disorder. I think, “if only I hadn’t decided to stop eating” or “if only I had said yes instead of no” and I wonder what would be different. Would my life be as I had pictured it at age 29: married, a family, a perfect job? Who and what would I be?
These regrets failed to fill up the gaping, empty space. My mind was stuck in a vicious cycle of negative thinking: a cycle that left room for little else.
Regret only breeds more regret.
Over the past couple of years, as my yoga practice has developed and I’ve grown into my body — allowing other avenues of life to fill that space — these feelings of regret have mysteriously lessened. Reflections on the past have shifted away from sadness: my thoughts no longer of loss, but rather gratitude.
I am a believer in some forms of fate and feel that I have perhaps been dealt this life because fate knew that I would be able to face these trials and ultimately find grace in turning them around to help others. While I do believe in events of fate, I also believe that our reactions to these events are of our own choosing.
Of course pangs of regret still appear, but when I notice their presence I react by questioning them and act to reframe my thinking.
The energy of thought is much better spent in a positive mindset than a negative one.
The more you can practice this, the more it will flow naturally into your life: effortlessly.
The next time you notice yourself getting into one of these mindsets, acknowledge what you are thinking or feeling without judgment and without a reaction. View these thoughts as if they were streaming on a marquee and only then begin to ask yourself these questions:
- Why is this thought is here?
- What are my choices to react to this thought?
- Which will benefit me in the long run?
- How can I reframe my thinking?
- Is there a way to find gratitude in what I am feeling or experiencing?
And if all else fails? Go find a corkscrew!