Dealing with Regret


It’s one of those things that is easy to allow to completely consume you, especially when, like me, you suffer from mental illness. As I sit here writing this, tears remain stained along my cheeks, and this inevitable feeling of me being the worse human alive is sucking the soul away from my core. Yet still, I believe I can offer advice.

Guilt and regret are the two main emotions that engulf my everyday life, whether surrounding something major, such as the way I have treated people in the past, or something minor, like accidentally knocking into someone and taking longer than two seconds to apologise; however, years of living with this have taught me ways to stop the overwhelming feeling from completely taking over.

So here is my advice:
  1. Take some time out to fully think about what has happened. It is easy to be irrational when feeling such a strong level of emotion, so allow yourself some recovery time.
  2. If you regret something you said or done, contact the people you feel you need too to clear the air. Chances are, they are a lot more forgiving and understanding than you think they will be. Just think, if the roles were swapped, would you forgive them?
  3. If it was an accident, understand that fact.
  4. Learn from the mistake.
  5. Forgive yourself – or at least try to.
  6. Remember, you survived this feeling before, and you can survive it again.

One thing to remember though is guilt and regret are two different things and are easy to confuse. I often speak of feeling guilty, yet looking back on it, maybe I just feel regret.

According to numerous online dictionaries, guilt is “the fact of having committed a specified or implied offence or crime”, whereas regret is defined as “a feeling of sadness, repentance, or disappointment over an occurrence or something that one has done or failed to do”. At the end of the day, your actions are not what define you fully as a person, but instead, it is often your reactions. Done something you feel is wrong? Try to put it right.

But, and again I know this from years of experience, crying yourself to sleep or forcing yourself through endless days and sleepless nights of self-punishment will solve nothing. Nearly every minor thing does is reversible, so don’t allow your small hiccups in life ruin everything.

Apologies for the low mood of today’s post, but sometimes, a problem shared is a problem halved, and it can be easier to lay yourself bare to strangers on the internet than it can be to those who know you. 


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