*Positive Provocations*

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Bye bye Regret, here comes Positivity!

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“Don’t let the past steal your present.” –Terri Guillemets

We all have something we’ve regretted doing – or not doing – in our past. From passing up a fantastic career opportunity to hurting someone’s feelings, experiencing regret is a way for us to learn. It’s part of being human.

Through research, life and experience, I have identified that the two largest areas of regret for people of all genders, socioeconomic backgrounds, and physical location were education and career. It seems that most people feel they could have done something better, more fulfilling, if only they’d taken advantage of opportunities to advance their schooling and career options.

“The past is a great place and I don’t want to erase it or to regret it, but I don’t want to be its prisoner either.”~ Mick Jagger 

Another more study conducted by the Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management shows that these are still the two biggest regrets – but only for men. Women are more prone to regret romance and family affairs. These gender differences are in line with most of what we already know about the priorities of men and women.

How Regret can be both Negative and Positive

It may be surprising to realize that most people actually consider regret a positive emotion. While we usually group it in with other negatives such as fear, guilt, jealousy, or anger, regret seems to belong in its own category – negative in some circumstances but positive in others.

Regret can also be a negative force. Too often we belabor what happened in the past and relive those moments we wish we could do over again and again. If regret is affecting your life in a negative way, you need to understand why that’s happening and how to move forward.

For women, regrets that focus on past emotional situations can be very detrimental. At some point you must get over that first high school crush and learn to love the partner who is with you right now. And after your kids are grown and gone from home is not the time to wonder how you could have spent more quality time with them.

How to Overturn Regret into a Positive Force for Change

“Get correct views of life, and learn to see the world in its true light. It will enable you to live pleasantly, to do good, and, when summoned away, to leave without regret.” –Robert E. Lee

The good news is that regret can be turned into a positive force for change. Regret is the perfect mirror to show us what we did wrong – in what ways our actions or inaction went against our core values. And when we realize what we want to change from the past, we can use that information to behave more appropriately in the future.

Regret is all about choices. Sometimes we make the wrong choice. At other times we are mired in indecision and make no choice at all. In either instance, the results are negative because our core values are being ignored.

What is Regret? Regret is our core values nudging us to be heard – and heeded.

For most women, going against the core values of love and family are those that hurt us the worst. Just like when we were kids and we had to learn that a hot stove would burn our hand, so do we need to learn as adults to stay away from those situations that cause us harm. But those experiences are also great life lessons to teach us how we can change our lives for the better in the future.

Once you’ve identified your core values, you can easily see how ignoring them is tied to past regrets. Use that information to move forward in a positive manner and prevent behaving in a way you will later regret.

To truly bid farewell to regret, we need to live a fully conscious life. Completely aware of every thought and catching the negative ones at the right time, so as to change or learn from them. Most of our wrong choices are attached to our fear of getting out of our own comfort zone, but that is a topic for another day :) For now, just be fully conscious!

What have you been regretting and NOW what are you going to learn from it? What are some of the Positive lessons you have learnt after making regretful choices? Share your beautiful lessons in the comments below. I’d love to learn from you. 

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With Immense Love & Gratitude,
~Zeenat~
Counseling Psychologist/ Spiritual Counselor
Motivational Speaker/Naturopath
Holistic Healer/Writer


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Author: Zeenat Merchant Syal

Counseling Psychologist/ Spiritual Counselor/Motivational Speaker/Naturopath/Holistic Healer/Writer

22 thoughts on “Bye bye Regret, here comes Positivity!

  1. Zeenat, this post was so timely to me as I was dumping on my husband some regrets I have had and it was upsetting to us both! Then: the great wisdom of your post. When you wrote, regret is our core values nudging us to be heard – and heeded, I nearly jumped out of my chair! And then, “to truly bid farewell to regret, we need to live a fully conscious life” Of course, light bulb moment! Thank you for sharing your postiivity and your joy! Deep bow.

    • Hi Brenda,
      A *BOW* right back dear one cause I just realized that I too sometimes dump stuff on my darling hubby! eeks! See i like that we can mirror each other and learn.
      Reevaluating ourselves helps immensely…it must be done regularly so as not to fall into the regret trap.
      So glad you liked this post.
      Thank you for your loving comment here.
      Much Love~

  2. Zeenat,
    I grew up hearing my mom say, “No regrets!” and “Coulda, shoulda, woulda”… so I couldn’t agree more with your idea of saying goodbye to regret! This week I will be fully conscious thanks to you. I loved this post and all your quotes.
    xoxo
    Betsy

    PS thanks for the linkup!

    • Hi Betsy,
      I love the advice your mom so generously shared with you!
      When we know that regrets really dont do anything for us…we will automatically drop them…the conscious living is key :)
      May you be blessed with happy conscious living always.
      Much Love~
      p.s. Love you so link love was but natural

  3. Positive is the way to be. Only one life, as far as I know, at the moment, so living in the moment is THE best way. Back in the 10th std…I fantasized about writing a book titled No Regrets. :D I still have the incomplete draft. Inshallah, I am blessed with a loving family, friends and mind.

    Hugs! Lovely post!

    • Hi Vidya,
      Now the “no regrets” book will sell like hot cakes for sure. I await for you to start that pet project….I would so love to read it!! Fine tune that draft girl!
      May you be blessed with lots of happiness and zero regrets
      Much Love~

  4. Another insightful post Zeenat.
    My regrets span both the business and relational aspects. I regret not protecting my life savings and I regret not reaching out to life more. I will let these nudge me to be more involved socially and take care of my savings.
    thanks!

    • Hi Brad,
      I think just the fact that you realize what you regret, makes you decide to not repeat those acts again. …Like you are now intending to be more socially involve(i already see you being prolific at it ;) ) and wanting to save more. Thats a positive step! Only good can come from this.
      Thank you for sharing your lovely self here.
      Much Love~

  5. Yes, be fully conscious! That’s the starting point to everything, isn’t it? If we can stop just playing roles automatically we’ll be way ahead of the game.

    “What is Regret? Regret is our core values nudging us to be heard – and heeded.”

    So true, loved this definition! And also, regret can be an indicator of just what our values are if we haven’t fully identified them … which often we haven’t.

    • Hi Carmelo,
      You have said something beautifully profound … “If we can stop just playing roles automatically we’ll be way ahead of the game.” So very true! The roles we think we need to play to go ahead…are actually holding us back.
      Thank you for sharing your wonderful insight here.
      Much Love~

  6. Letting go of regrets takes the weight off our shoulders. Interesting that women regret romance and family affairs and men regret school opportunities. My regrets are in the family area, but it is important to let go and live in the present. We can only learn from our mistakes and move on. Great post, Zeenat.

    • Hi Cathy,
      Youre so right…we can learn so much for the past..rather than regret it, lets use it to our advantage right! Becoming better human beings in the process of learning from regrets is a good Plus too ;)
      Glad you liked this post. Thank you for your thoughtful comment here.
      Much Love~

  7. Oh, boy, do I do this sometimes! There are two events in particular that I tend to revisit and wish I had a do over! A Course in Miracles teaches, “The only wholly true thought we can hold about the past is that it is not here.” I have to remind myself of that many times!

    • Galen,
      Thats such a thought altering quote from A course in Miracles(love it!). The past is the past…its better left there right :) We all need this reminder … me included :)
      Thank you for your awesome comment here.
      Much Love~

  8. I regret all those times I have failed to speak my truth and have preferred to play it safe instead.

    Now it’s time to let go of those regrets and SPEAK my truth always.

    Those “regrets” have made me the person I am time today:-)

    • Oh wow Arvind! You and me both…I have the exact same regret….but its from way back when I thought wearing masks would make me fit in. All crap eh ;) Today I know as do you, that we are awesome just the way we are…so why not flaunt it.
      Regret come to nudge us in the positive direction…we just need to be conscious enough to feel that nudge.
      Thank you for your lovely comment here.
      Much Love~

  9. I see regret as a positive, learning force. I love this insight: “What is Regret? Regret is our core values nudging us to be heard – and heeded.” I’ve regretted how unconscious I was as a kid and young adult. But, I’ve learned so much from that.

    • Hi Sandra,
      I think I’m still learning…everyday in every-way there is lesson to be learnt. The fully conscious bit can be tricky at times…but oh so rewarding right :)
      May we all learn positively awesome lessons from our past regrets rather than drown in them.
      Thank you for your loving comment here darling.
      Much Love~

  10. “The past is a great place and I don’t want to erase it or to regret it, but I don’t want to be its prisoner either.”~ Mick Jagger

    Ok…so now you just had to remind me about a ‘regret’ I have in not keeping my ticket stub from the 1965 Stones concert at Golden Hall (mind you the word ‘Hall’), which had in attendance about a grand total of… maybe… 4,000 of us wana be Jaggers in full rebellon from uniformity.

    “I can’t get no girl reaction”

    “For women, regrets that focus on past emotional situations can be very detrimental. At some point you must get over that first high school crush.”

    ….ahhh so this is why Liz, Karen, Angela, Cathy, Linda, Carole, Rosie, Mariana, Janice, and…??…didn’t call me back?
    :)

    Thank you Zeenat,

    There is really a great truth to the Mick Jagger quote.

    And around this time of year I always like this line from Maxine Kumin’s ‘Family Reunion':

    “Darlings, it’s all a circle from the ring of wire that keeps the raccoons from the corn to the gouged pine table that we lounge around, distressed before any of you was born.”

  11. The best lesson I’ve learned about regret was to not dwell on the past and aspire to positivity. The more I got caught up on the “I shoulda woulda couldas” the more I was stuck in past. Thanks for this insightful post:)

  12. A very thought provoking post.We all regret about something or the other, but the best way to erase it is to make a sincere effort to cultivate a positive approach.. After all ‘”there is no use crying over spiilt milk'”.

  13. I agree that regret is something that we should all learn from and use it for positivity. I do this by trying to accept everything that has happened and without this I will never be able to move on and forget the past.

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