Saturday, April 28, 2012

Beyond Regret

Regret gone wrong! It probably takes about 3 minutes of feeling troubled by something that happened in order to gain whatever you need to know from regret. Along about minute 4, you begin to pour salt on a wound. After a few days, it begins to fester and after years, repetitive, ongoing regret wounds to the bone -- and heart. It blocks happiness and creativity.

Ongoing regret, the kind people replay as they go to sleep (or, more likely lie awake yearning for rest and release) serves no healthy purpose, unless it motivates you to learn from experience. Only you do not have to feel bad in order to learn. Desire to learn works much better. Desire also feels good while you absorb life's many mysterious lessons.

Re-played regret is based on a lie we believe with all our hearts: If only I hadn't done that, everything in my life that I like would stay the same, but the things I don't like would be different.

For example:
I would not be so alone
I would not struggle with money
I would be rich
I would be famous
I would be healthy

In the throes of regret we believe all of the puzzle pieces would remain the same, except for the ones we don't like. That belief, causing so much pain, I would be me, with my life, only so much better, is not true! You can’t change one puzzle piece in real life and come up with the same picture, only prettier. The whole thing changes. Your life would be completely different. We have no idea what it would be like.

You would meet different people, think different thoughts, learn different lessons, pass different tests, step up to a different obstacle -- or in front of a different bus! You would find a different way through, learn a different skill-set, be exposed to different temptations -- an infinity of difference.

Every step you take leads down a unique road to a different, ever-changing destination, filled with experiences only you will have. "If you want to change your life,  all you have to do, is turn, perhaps ever so slightly, and take the very next step in a new direction." -- "Travelling Free: How to Recover from the Past by Changing Your Beliefs." (Available in print, for Kindle and PDF Download at )

It's your time and you can choose how to spend it. If recurrent regret eats up too much of your precious life check to see if you have fallen for the one puzzle piece myth. Notice if there is something you want to learn from a past experience. How can you learn it? Would it be OK with you if the rest of your life fill fills up with happiness, success, love and miracles?!

Cheering you on with love, 


  1. Your blog post couldn't have come at a better time. Although I "know better", I got caught in that puzzle piece myth of regret 2 days ago. It was the anniversary of the death of my son's father. As I felt aware of the absence of his father and that I wished it were different, I began regretting choices I had made years earlier... as if making different ones would have made everything better. Thanks, Mandy, for reminding me of the fallacy of that thinking. Things are as they are-- PERIOD. I have to say I feel better already.

    1. Thanks, Tori. Elusive, isn't it. Of course if you had made some different choices we wouldn't have your wonderful son. Love, M.

  2. I suppose for divorced parents this is a special item because you know you have chosen a path in the life of your children they would not have and it has effected their puzzle very much.
    The 'couldn't I have tried longer', or 'I wasn't nice either' and that sort of thougts are hard to get rid of....

    1. Dearest Antje, We will never know what would have happened if you had "tried longer" -- ANYTHING could have happened, not just the two parents together part.
      I know they are blessed to have you -- we all are.

  3. "You can’t change one puzzle piece in real life and come up with the same picture, only prettier. The whole thing changes. Your life would be completely different. We have no idea what it would be like."

    Such simple words. So profound. So easy to miss. You've really hit on something very significant here. Reading this, and recognizing that somewhere beneath my generally positive demeanour, I've carried some regrets, and then realizing that I was guilty of exactly this thing - believing that all the good would still be here and just the not-so-good would be perfect... And then recognizing it for a subtle, yet powerful lie -- all of this has given me a sense of a part of my life that had been captive, suddenly being free.

    My mother has the saying of "finding your voice," and I really think that in these last few posts, you have "found your blog-voice."

  4. Thanks, Ashton. I appreciate your kind words and your understanding of what I wanted to convey. Hooray for sudden freedom!


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