Time and Regret: Mining the Lessons Then Letting Go

Time and RegretTime and regret are words you may not often see associated on a blog that’s focused on managing your time for business and personal success.

But our focus here is on Heart-Based Time ManagementTM.  And regret, if you think about it, has a huge impact on our hearts … and by extension, on our time.

Our effectiveness, our perceptions, our energy and our creativity are all affected by the regrets that we grapple with.

Not only that, but regrets emerge for us and are recognized over time. They are a natural outgrowth of the changes we undergo with each passing day.

Time and regret: let’s take a closer look at how they interact, and how they impact the experience of time.

When you feel a regret, you are reviewing (re-seeing) a situation, choice or relationship.  And based on what you know now, when you experience regret you are feeling some kind of loss about how you managed it.

If you are open to learning from the unfolding experiences of your life, then you are likely to feel this sort of regret frequently. It goes hand-in-hand with human development and our evolving insights.

I love this snippet from Henry David Thoreau, who encourages us to welcome regret and see it as a true measure of a life lived deeply.

Make the most of your regrets; never smother your sorrow, but tend and cherish it till it comes to have a separate and integral interest. To regret deeply is to live afresh. Henry David Thoreau

Time and Regret: Compassion is Key

Just as it is important to fully feel and learn from regrets, it is also vital to let them go.  And this can be a deeply challenging process, requiring large doses of compassion.

Opening your heart and fully letting in a regret brings up feelings of grief that can be most profound and leave you shaken to your core. Lost opportunities, lost loves, lost moments – these can be haunting and difficult to look at, let alone assimilate.

So it’s vital that you have the skills and nurturing self-love to ‘hold’ those feelings. Experiencing regret and loss is NOT about judging yourself!  Quite the opposite, it is about courage and honesty and loving yourself enough to let yourself see clearly.

Here’s another quote that I think of as the companion to Thoreau’s, in a way:

I never regret anything. Because every little detail of your life is what made you into who you are in the end. Drew Barrymore

While I don’t encourage turning away from regret, what I love about this is the accepting and compassionate  embrace of self that it describes.

When you celebrate, at each step of the journey, the person you are, then the things that made you are also celebrated, in all of their variety.  The more you widen your heart and your vision to do this, the more deeply you are able to live and appreciate each of your moments.

I hope you give yourself this gift, even in a small way, today!

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  1. very inspiring indeed 🙂

  2. Regret, a very important topic. yes, owning our regrets , allowing ourselves to feel them, to be angry, to be sad, whatever it is we need to do to honor our regrets is so very very important.

  3. Thanks, Paula. I welcome the scope of your posts. Perhaps some of our regrets allow us to regress to a less-considered moment and appreciate the fullness of what we once overlooked. To embrace this as a gift and then proceed with more mindfulness honors ourselves and others who may have been affected.

  4. Having made regretful decisions that impacted me and others in painful ways years ago, I feel that you wrote this article about my journey! Yes, compassion is the road to healing. Learning from our mistakes is a wonderful thing. It changes everything from the point at which we accept and learn from our past. Thanks for this reminder and validation.

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