We all have regrets. The question is “How do we free ourselves of them?” The feelings of guilt and diminution of our confidence that accompany regret do not serve us well. So how do we rid ourselves of these self-defeating thoughts?
All mistakes, including those we later regret, are simply a part of the learning process. You know as well as I do that we learn more from our mistakes than the things we naturally do well.
When we look at the regrets we have…the things we would have done differently, the things we wish we wouldn’t have said…and learn from them, then there’s no reason for regret. Instead we want to focus on what we learned and how we can use it in the future to avoid more regrets.
Impact on confidence
The more adept we become at learning from our mistakes and employing what we learned, the fewer regrets we’ll have in the future. Also, we’ll avoid hits to our confidence. Finally, it’s much easier to acknowledge a mistake when we know that the lesson we learned will help us avoid making the mistake again in the future.
You’ll find that instead of regretting the mistake and taking hits to your confidence, you’ll appreciate the lesson you learned, take action to avoid repeating the mistake and, in doing so, boost your confidence.
You can still make appropriate apologies to whomever you offended by your mistake and, again, bolster your confidence in doing so. We feel good about ourselves when we’ve been honest with ourselves and others about the mistakes we’ve made.
Opportunity for you
Every mistake is an opportunity to learn. If you learn something and use that knowledge to avoid mistakes in the future, you’re successful and, as you know, success begets confidence.
In the future, when you do something that you regret, follow these simple steps:
- Admit your mistake and apologize to the offended party.
- Learn from your mistake.
- Monitor your actions and language to avoid repeating the regretted behavior.
- Enjoy the boost to your confidence that admitting your mistake and learning from it afford.
For our kids
When you find your kids regretting something they said or did, remind them that we all make mistakes…that’s inevitable. The key to avoiding regret is learning something from that mistake that’ll help them avoid making it again in the future.
Then share with them the process outlined above.
More importantly, live this message. Kids are keen observers. When they see you using this technique and how well it serves you, they’ll mimic that behavior…and discover it’s power. They too will grow more confident…and free themselves of regret.