When someone takes a certain action or a number of actions that don’t lead to the outcome that they desired, there is the chance that they will later come to experience regret. And while there is nothing that one can to do to change what took place, they will suffer nevertheless.
This is likely to include a combination of different thoughts, feelings and sensations. One could ask themselves why they did what they did and/or why they didn’t do something else. They could end up feeling angry and this could even develop into rage. And underneath this could the feeling of being powerless or hopeless.
Back And Forth
One minute, one might be feeling down through facing these feelings and the thoughts that are appearing and the next minute, one could be imagining what it would be like if only they had done something different.
In this case, one is likely to feel a sense of relief; if only for a short time. And this is a defence mechanism that the mind will use to regulate how one feels. It won’t necessarily change how one feels in the long run, but it will change how they feel in the short term.
Round In Circles
So this could cause one to end up being caught in a cycle. And how long this will last can depend on how willing someone is to face what actually happened. If one is unable to take a step back and see what is taking place, it could be quite some time before they end this cycle.
When someone is down and unable to use their imagination to imagine how it could have been, they are likely to punish themselves. And if one is able to use their imagination, they might feel the urge to do something about what happened.
If this relates to something that caused one to feel guilty for instance, it might motivate them to give something back. This could include person that was involved in what later made one feel guilty or it could involve someone else who reminds them of the other person.
So while one might not be able to alter what took place, they are able to change someone else’s life in some way. This then gives them a new experience to focus on and this can take away some of the guilt.
A New Experience
Even though what has happened hasn’t changed, the new experience can settle the mind down and can give one a reason to feel better and less regretful. The new experience can be used as evidence to prove to oneself that they are not a ‘bad person’ for example. And how what happened was a once of and doesn’t reflect their true nature.
This same experience can also be achieved by one looking back on their life and locating times when they acted in ways that are the complete opposite to what has recently taken place.
As what has happened has happened and can’t be changed, it is clear that one is wasting their energy by punishing themselves. Their energy is being wasted on what has been, instead of being used for what can be.
To reflect on what took place and what one could have done is something that can enhance their life; if this process is used in the right way. When this is done, one will be able to grow and integrate the experience.
But if this becomes an obsession and something that one can’t stop focusing on, they are going to end up being stuck in the past. In life, sometimes one will do the ‘right’ thing, and sometimes they won’t.
Being human doesn’t mean that one has to be perfect; it simply means that one does the best they can. And as everything in life can’t be planned; it means that mistakes are going to be made. So instead of punishing oneself for making them, a healthier and more empowering approach would be to see them as being part of life and as examples of what one doesn’t want to do in the future.
However, while the ideal is for one to use them as examples of what they don’t want to do in life and to move on shortly after, at times one is going to find that they are not able to do this. It is then not that they don’t want to move on; it is that they are unable to integrate the experience.
Their mind is going round in circles and like a dog with a bone, it won’t let go. Now, one approach would be to say that one needs to ‘let go’ and to just ‘move on’, as life is ‘too short’ to hold onto the past.
And while this can sound logical, and one can’t disagree with what is being said, it doesn’t mean that one is able to move on.
The mind is generally the point of focus when it comes to change and the body is often ignored. Some people believe that it is ones thoughts that define how they feel and while this can be the case, it can also work the other way around.
How one thinks is then the result of how they feel, and this is why it is not always easy to just ‘let go’ and ‘move on’. Having trapped emotions in one’s body will cause the mind to produce certain thoughts. The mind is causing one to have obsessive thoughts as a way to deal with the feelings that are appearing from the body.
However, if these feelings were not trapped in one’s body, then one wouldn’t have the need to have these thoughts in the first place. These trapped emotions will need to be faced and released. As this is done, it will enable one to let go and to ingrate what happened.
And this can be done with the assistance of a therapist or a healer.
Oliver JR Cooper
Author of 25 books, Transformational Writer, Teacher & Consultant.
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That which is contained within these articles is based on my own empirical understanding and is true for me at the time they were written. However, as I continue to grow, what I perceive as the truth will inevitably change and as a result of this - parts of these articles may not reflect my current outlook.