Have you ever got caught in a mental loop of “what might have been” when thinking about your past? Maybe if I’d have done this or that instead, I’d be where I really wanted to be? It’s a tough rut of thinking to drag yourself out from. Anything that we’ve done that we feel we can’t change can take a serious hinder on where we feel we can go forward from. It’s human nature to make mistakes, and it’s obviously unhealthy to dwell for too long on said mistakes. Here are 5 simple to follow tips for turning these feelings of loathing into positive growth.
Stop the spiral
The first step recognizing the spiral. When we continue to think about an event in the past, it causes us to overthink details; what we would have done differently and how we could have responded. This can create a negative thought pattern and can cause us to overanalyze what could have and should have been done. Putting these thoughts and feelings to paper can give you a great sense of mental relief. Write down what you wish you would have done differently, embrace your feelings towards the past and come back to the paper in six months. Re-evaluate your feelings then burn the paper. No use in dwelling on the past.
Repeat to yourself
Regret hinders our ability to solve problems here in the now. If you look for solutions and answers, chances are you’ll find them a lot quicker. Try and find two silver lining details in your regretful occurrence and repeat them eight times to yourself. Conditioning your mind to recognize the positives of situations will train your subconscious to find the better in “bad” situations in the future. Focus on what you gained, or what was avoided by a choice.
Treat yourself like your best you would
Keeping the mentality that your best coach is you is an empowering power base in which to move through life. No matter how much good advice our friends, family and mentors can give us, our best guide is ultimately ourselves. Take time to imagine yourself as a mentor, a leader, a guardian and practice coaching yourself. Be in your own corner of the boxing ring called life. Imagine your perfect mentor talking about a bad situation?
Would she/he call for you to beat yourself up Or practice self-compassion and growth? More than likely, they would call for you to use the experience as a learning experience.
Figure out what matters to you
Take time to understand why you feel a certain way towards a situation. What was it about a regretful event that made you feel the way it did? Did you feel you disrespected yourself or someone else? Do you feel you didn’t try your best? Did you feel that you were cheated? Taking time to understand what emotional triggers you have is important in understanding what you value. Using past negative feelings and experiences as a mirror towards what you want to improve is a great way towards self improvement.