Are your deep, dark regrets keeping you from moving forward?
What if I told you that you could excavate some “gold nuggets” from those regrets that could potentially help you become a better, smarter, and more cautious person?
Here are 7 gold nuggets that you can excavate from your deep, dark regrets today—nuggets that will help you move forward in life with greater success:
Gold Nugget #1: A Regret Can Teach You What You Need To Improve
Often we regret a failure or a setback because of what we consider to be a weakness in our character. This “personal flaw regret” is so powerful precisely because it was able to expose something about us that wasn’t so stellar.
Now, if we just keep thinking about our “personal flaw regret,” and stoke its power with our attention, this will not help us–it may even hurt us.
But if we try to not take this regret too personally, we can suck it up and see if we can’t improve that aspect of ourselves that wasn’t so pretty (or simply accept a part of us that can’t be changed).
If you regret something in the past because it exposed a personal flaw of yours, can you be a grown up about it and see if you can’t correct this flaw for next time, preventing the chances of a future regret?
Gold Nugget #2: A Regret Can Teach You What Skill You Still Need To Gain
Sometimes our regret has nothing to do with a personal flaw of ours, but with a skill we lacked.
Our “lack of skill regret” can lead us to be very afraid about trying to accomplish something again, in the future.
But if we can be a bit more grown up about this type of regret, we’ll be able to see that this regret is not trying to deter us from future achievement–it is showing us which skill we need in order to guarantee our future success.
If we have this type of regret, we might want to ask ourselves: “What books can I read–what mentors can I seek out–what classes can I take so that I can acquire the skill I need in order to achieve what I want?”
If you regret something in the past because it revealed to you that you lacked a certain skill, can you be grown up about it and see if you can’t acquire this skill for next time, preventing the chances of future regret?
Gold Nugget #3: A Regret Can Teach You What You Should Be More Cautious Of
Sometimes our regret has to do with an experience in which we were taken advantaged of by others, and we felt we should have known better.
The “betrayal regret” can have us not trusting anyone for a very long time, and can have us missing out on opportunities simply because we do not believe anyone can ever gain our loyalty again.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
A regret that is based on a past betrayal can be seen as trying to teach you to be more cautious in the future.
If you regret something in the past because it involved someone taking advantage you, can you see that this experience is teaching how to be more cautious and smarter about whom you trust (instead of discouraging you from trusting anyone at all)?
Gold Nugger #4: A Regret Can Teach You Which Parts of You Are Vulnerable—That You Need To Protect
Sometimes our regret has to do with a situation in which we put ourselves out there, in harms way, without adequate protection. This is what I call the “vulnerability regret.”
It is true that we’re always vulnerable at some level, but still, if we know that there is a parts of us which is particularly weak to an attack—an attack that could be devastating to us—then we need to be smarter: we need to make sure that this part of us is adequately protected against future attacks.
If you are regretting that you left an extremely vulnerable part of you unprotected, then let this regret teach that you need to protect this part of you in the future.
If you regret has to do with you letting someone attack an unprotected vulnerability in you, can you let this regret teach you to protect that vulnerable part of you in the future?
Gold Nugget #5: A Regret Can Teach You Who/What/Where You Need To Avoid Completely
Sometimes our regret has to do with letting certain people, events, or places into our lives that were clearly not good for us.
I call this regret, the “lack-of-discernment regret.” We have this regret because we feel we lacked the ability to discern who and what was bad for us.
This regret sounds similar to the “betrayal regret” but it’s different: because what we learn from a betrayal regret is how to move forward in life with a general cautiousness. But what we learn from a lack-of-discernment regret is precisely how to spot who and what is bad for us right away—saving us a lot of time and energy.
Most people/places/things that are bad for you come with their own built-in signals, or “red flags,” that warn you about their danger long before they arrive. Study these flags and signals carefully so that the next time you see this type of person/place/event, you go can walk swiftly in the other direction.
If you regret inviting a bad person, place, or event into your life that ended up hurting you, can you study the signs, or red flags, that this person/place/event exhibited so that you can avoid these kind of people/places/events in the future?
Gold Nugget #6: A Regret Can Reveal To You What Matters To You The Most
Our deepest, darkest regrets often reveal to us what matters to us the most.
Because if we didn’t care about the things we regretted, we wouldn’t regret them in the first place. Right?
Study your deep, dark regrets in order to uncover what really matters to you. Take note of it in your journal so that next time, when what truly matters to you shows up again in your life, you can seize it without regret.
Gold Nugget #7: A Regret Can Teach You What Pathways Are Closed Off To You (And Potentially: Why They Are Closed Off To You)
Some regrets reveal to us that certain pathways are not destined for us.
One of the hardest things to admit is that there are some experiences we will never have, and there are certain people we will never become.
But that’s okay.
If we can clear away everything that is not meant for us, we can uncover what is truly meant for us. Fortunately, what was meant for us usually ends being something we love far more than what was not meant for us.
If your regret has to do with a pathway that was closed off to you, try to figure out why this pathway was closed off to you. Is it possible that this closed pathway was leading you to a better pathway—a pathway that was wide open to you precisely because it was meant for you?
Today’s Courage Exercise
If you’re currently bogged down by your deep, dark regrets, try excavating some gold nuggets from them today. Maybe, through the digging, you can finally uncover the wisdom that’ll help you move forward as a better, smarter, more cautious you.
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