Mistakes

Acknowledging Regrets Can Move You Forward

Emotional Health

(Photo Credit: CDC)

We all have our regrets.  Although we shouldn’t live a life full of regrets, it can be quite liberating to deal candidly with your regrets.  You may have invested greatly in people who have evinced that they were not worthy of your time, but the time you devoted to them speaks volumes about your character.  Even though those individuals may now be your enemies, learn to appreciate the lessons you’ve learned from your interactions with those who have proved themselves to lack gratitude.  Don’t allow your life to become consumed by focusing on regrets; instead, take the necessary time to think critically about the things you regret.

Too often people are afraid to confront challenges in their lives that make them uncomfortable.  Although many would have you to believe that you need to do whatever it takes to make you feel comfortable, it’s beneficial to have a constant healthy level of discomfort present.  Discomfort unveils to us that we’re human.  If you’re always avoiding phenomena that cause discomfort, then you’re trying to remove yourself from experiencing inexorable dimensions of the human condition.  You’re going to have to recognize that staying away from discomfort is going to limit your progression significantly.  Ultimately, you will discover your most impactful regret is failing to assess the emotional and physical toll of your regrets.

Forgiving yourself and the people who have hurt you are essential to experiencing true progress.  The regrets you have about past and present relationships and decisions you’ve made have to be placed in the proper context: you and others are human.  Every human being has made mistakes and will continue to make mistakes.  When you don’t forgive yourself and others for mistakes, then the weight of those mistakes hold you down, stifling any chance of you moving forward in life.  A failure to forgive yourself and others results in bitterness, even if you don’t recognize it.  You have to resolve whether you’re going to allow your own mistakes and those of others to defeat you.

Be open to a new beginning with yourself and others.

It’s important for you to realize you’re not the only one who has regrets.  Spend some time talking to others about their regrets and how they process them.  The discourses you have with them can offer you some practices you can employ to place your regrets in an appropriate context.

What if someone has hurt me so deeply, though?  Welcome to the real world.  On this planet that we inhabit, someone is going to do something to cause you harm, whether it be directly or indirectly.  Learn the lessons from your experiences with the person and move on to better people and things.

Don’t turn your regrets into more than they should be.  Do you really just want to be a drama queen or king?  If not, make a commitment to transform every regret into an empowering opportunity.  No one desires to be around someone who is emotionally exhausting.  You can run the people you need to succeed in life away from you.

Take a close emotional inventory.  What are the things keeping you from progressing?  How can you address them?  After you respond to those two questions, devise a practical plan for implementing the solutions birthed from your critical emotional inventory.  If you would like to involve others in this process, understand that this can be beneficial.

Refuse to allow your regrets to dominate you.  Choose to live and win!

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

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Your Apology Isn’t Enough

Apology

(Photo Credit: Conscious Manager)

Although you can genuinely forgive a person, some things people do to you require more than a simple apology. Even if the person accepts your apology, this may not always take away the pain of the wrong you have done. When you do certain wrongs to an individual, you need to work to demonstrate to the person you’re truly sorry. Your goal should be to restore that person’s confidence in you again. It can become quite unsatisfying to allow people to do whatever they please to you and then pretend that an apology heals everything.

If you will be honest, you will admit that an apology does not heal everything someone does to you. Yes, forgive everyone for everything he or she does to you. Don’t try to pretend that forgiveness cures the pain of all wrongdoing, however.

Determine in your mind that you’re not going to do things that cause people constant pain.  We all, of course, make mistakes. Unfortunately, we all don’t elect to work tirelessly to repair the damage that our mistakes produce.

You shouldn’t be so self-absorbed that you don’t even realize the harm that you do to others. Wake up and acknowledge the destructive impact of your words and actions. Your actions are not going to improve until your mind experiences a transformation. How you think determines your actions. If you think negatively, then your actions are going to be negative.

Those who have been sincerely hurt by things that people have done have to recognize when people are making efforts to recompense for their transgressions. It’s not healthy for broken people to decide that they’re going to be angry with those who have wronged them for the rest of their lives. When you do this, you share some of the blame for the wrong that was done to you: your unwillingness to make room for healing does not allow change to happen.

Why isn’t an apology always enough, though? The core reason why an apology is often not enough is an apology is frequently just the beginning of the process of your part in helping a person to heal from the pain you have caused. When you accept full responsibility for your wrongs, then you will embrace what needs to be done to restore a person to his or her previous state. You will discover that while you’re helping someone to heal that you can see healing manifest itself in your own life.

Let’s change our mentality that an apology should always be good enough. Let’s change our focus to healing instead just forgiving and apologizing.

Call someone today that you have done wrong and let the person know that you are more than sorry for the wrong that you’ve done to him or her; let him or her know that you plan to participate in his or her healing process. Although you may have originally thought that the person was just being overly sensitive, and he or she may have, the fact is you will be a better person for doing the appropriate things to mend this broken person.

Wouldn’t America and the world truly be better if many broken relationships were repaired?

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Being Disappointed with Yourself

You’re not always going to meet your own expectations for yourself and the expectations of others. No human being is perfect. A part of being human is understanding that you are incapable of perfection. When you have not met your responsibilities, don’t sit there and wallow in your self-pity—dust yourself off and try again. If you have made some poor choices, it’s okay. Learn from those poor choices and strive to not make them again. If you make them again, keep working not to repeat them. Too many people put too much pressure on themselves to be perfect. For many, it’s almost like a surprise when they don’t do things perfectly. Why would you be surprised? You have not been perfect from the day you were conceived.

You cannot let what you feel others may think about your poor choices worry you that much. You will drive yourself insane trying to please people all the time. It’s impossible to please people all the time because many people don’t even know what “being pleased” is.

Being disappointed is not a good feeling. We have to make sure that we are doing our best to prevent disappointments from occurring. However, no matter how much you are doing to attempt to prevent disappointments from happening they are still going to happen. The effort that you devote to foiling disappointments from occurring can help to reduce the number of disappointments you experience.

If you are never disappointed with yourself, you will never know how proud of yourself you should be when you do something really good or great. Disappointments come to improve us. If everything goes just great for you all the time, you would not feel human. It would also feel like you cannot feel. Do you really want to go through life not being able to feel? I don’t think you really want to go through life not being able to feel.

People think that everything always goes great for me. They look at my level of success, accomplishments, titles, positions, degrees, talents, and etc. and think that every day and everything is wonderful for me. Yes, I’m very successful and highly accomplished but my success and accomplishments did not come without my share of disappointments.  In fact, the more success and accomplishments I earn the greater the pressure I place on myself to be even better. With the tremendous pressure I place on myself to become greater and greater, I experience many disappointments.

Don’t make me be less than human by thinking that everything is always going great for me and that every day is a successful day for me. I am not a robot. I feel. Although my external wrapper and internal coating is much stronger than most, I still feel. I have cloudy days and cloudy moments just as you do. I encourage you not to perceive people who are successful and accomplished to be something larger than human. Yes, we are successful and accomplished but still human.

I take comfort in my disappointments because I did all that I could reasonably do to avoid being disappointed. At the end of the day, all I can ask myself to do is the best I can do. When I’ve done all I can reasonably do to do my best, it’s then that I recognize I don’t have a need to feel disappointed with myself.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison