There are some stories that we need to let go. Or more accurately, some related baggage that should be discarded. It’s important to keep the lessons but unproductive, even unhealthy, to cling to all thoughts of would’ve, could’ve or should’ve.
This is a tough one for me. I’m always reviewing, reliving and reprimanding myself over things that almost certainly are minimal or forgotten by others involved. My husband, who is much more able to put things behind him, has come to accept that I do not easily move beyond a perceived error. He once told me that the difference between the two of us on that front is that I always think that I can still fix things. Pretty insightful really (he doesn’t have to know I said that). That idea definitely gave me something to think about as I strive to become [more of] a free spirit unfettered by regrets.
Strive to let go of stories that hold you back by prompting feelings of anxiety, anger, jealousy, regret, envy or any of a myriad of other draining emotions.
Take what learning you can from the experience then let go of the rest. Admittedly easier said than done but start today to find ways to begin that next chapter.
- Get a realistic picture of the situation that you are reliving, one that is not focused only on what you did / didn’t do and wish you hadn’t / had done. Name at least one positive outcome or lesson or identify some progress that was made toward a goal.
- Name the event so you can catalog and let it go (some strategies on how to do that next time)
- Describe the event / situation. Try to be objective. Use as much or as little detail as you like. This can be just for you or something that you choose to share.
- Identify what you did wrong (by your reckoning) AND what you wish you had done differently. Sometimes you might want to check your perception with others.
- Try to objectively consider whether it would truly have resulted in a ‘better’ outcome, with ‘better’ meaning one that would not have caused you to have regrets.
- Consider how other parties would feel about the situation Try to be realistic. How did they react? Would they even still be thinking about it? It is quite possible that they didn’t notice or place the same value on what you said or did.
With practice, you’ll soon be able to do these steps quickly. Although it might be difficult, try to check your perceptions with others at least occasionally to help develop more realistic assessments.
Next time – strategies for helping move past the lingering negativity.