Letting Go of Regrets

How to Live full Life With- Regrets


l am a Registered Nurse by profession. To maintain my Registered Nurse license the Province of Manitoba, I have to renew the Registered Nurse license every single year, this has to be done before December 01. As part of renewal process it includes the completion of Jurisprudence test. Nursing Jurisprudence is the application and interpretation of the principles of law or legal rules as they relate to the practice of nursing,obligations nurses have to their clients, and; relationships nurses have with other nurses and health care professionals. With my hectic schedule I didn’t complete the 2018 test on time. By the time I completed the test submission deadline was done. This meant my registration was terminated on December 31,2018.

When I lost the license I visited the College of Registered Nurses of Manitoba

Office to enquire what I needed to do to reinstate my RN Lincense, they explained to me that I had to complete criminal check and child registry check plus multiple other checks before I could apply for a reinstatement. I was horrified. As the realization set in that I couldn’t “legally” practice as a Registered Nurse in Manitoba, a panicky sad feeling arose in my gut. I began to rationalize in my head all the reasons why this happened. So the reasoning went in my head as I tried to justify why I hadn’t renewed my RN license on time. I was angry at myself because it meant paying a few more hundred dollars that could have paid if I had completed the test on time, it meant a few weeks without work as a Registered Nurse. It meant that signing R.N. after my name when I am not licensed was fraud and material misrepresentation. The day I went out looking for the criminal and child registry checks was very tiring, Every day and weeks of waiting for the College of Registered Nurses of Manitoba decision was a time full of regret and shame, it was very painful and I said lots of “if should have done”. I felt shame because I had to explain to my employer about my situation. I felt shame because I had failed to comply with nursing standards that I had strongly upheld for others.


I am very sure that I am not the only one who has found themselves in a situation where they have regretted or have felt ashamed of their actions. Just to name a few people who have publicly regretted their actions:

  • George Clooney has a sparkling resume. But he’s on record as saying he totally messed up his role in 1997’s Batman & Robin.
  • Billy Bob Thornton had Angelia Jolie. He had her! And then… “I was just too insecure… people actually said that I didn’t deserve to be with her…when Angie and I got married, during that time, I was more famous than she was to start with and then she becomes this big thing; it’s hard in these relationships. We had a great marriage and I chickened out because I didn’t feel good enough.”
  • In an essay titled “Being the Father I Never Had,”written in honor of Father’s Day, the President wrote about his desire to be the best parent he could possibly be for daughters Sasha and Malia. He expressed regret for time spent away from the girls when they were younger, and resolved to be there for them more as they grew up. “When Malia and Sasha were younger, work kept me away from home more than it should have,” Obama wrote in People magazine. “At times, the burden of raising our two daughters has fallen too heavily on Michelle. During the campaign, not a day went by that I didn’t wish I could spend more time with the family I love more than anything else in the world.”
  • When a fan asked McCartney what he would do if he had a time machine, the former Beatles member said that he’d go back and spend more time with his mother. Although his lack of family time wasn’t due to overworking — she died when he was just 14 — the sentiment still stands. McCartney has saidthat his love for his mother, and eventually letting go of his pain over losing her, inspired one of the band’s greatest hits and most moving songs, “Let It Be”:

At night when she came home, she would cook, so we didn’t have a lot of time with each other. But she was just a very comforting presence in my life. And when she died, one of the difficulties I had, as the years went by, was that I couldn’t recall her face so easily. That’s how it is for everyone, I think. As each day goes by, you just can’t bring their face into your mind, you have to use photographs and reminders like that. So in this dream 12 years later, my mother appeared, and there was her face, completely clear, particularly her eyes, and she said to me very gently, very reassuringly: ‘Let it be.’

The above celebrities and world leaders have all walked in the same shoes like all of us. we have all been in a situation where you have regretted why you got yourself there in the first place. And now you can’t let go of the guilt, shame, regrets and self loathing for what you did. You believe you must be a bad person. You’re feeling stuck, undeserving of love and happiness, and downright fraudulent, those are the feelings I felt that day. .


In this situation and many other situations where I have felt similar feelings I have learnt that the key element to stress with regret is that you are looking back upon a past event and reflecting upon it. The feeling of regret is not positive, and it comes from strongly wanting to change your actions, your behaviors, your reactions, etc. In the present you are thinking back to a past event, and expressing your regret which may make you feel apologetic, sad, or shameful.


Janet Landman, author of Regret: Persistence of the Possible, defines regret as a “more or less painful cognitive and emotional state of feeling sorry for misfortunes, limitations, losses, transgressions, shortcomings or mistakes. It is an experience of felt-reason or reasoned-emotion. The regretted matters may be sins of commission as well as sins of omission; they may range from the voluntary to the uncontrollable and accidental; they may be actually executed deeds or entirely mental ones committed by oneself or by another person or group; they may be moral or legal transgressions or morally and legally neutral.”



The author of The Seat of the Soul shares the revelation that gets you through those late-night struggles—with yourself. The real reason you keep stumbling on regret: the parts of your personality that originate in fear (such as those that experience remorse, guilt and shame, as well as regret). When one of these becomes active in you, you feel that you have made a mistake, perhaps a big mistake. In other words, regret comes from feeling that you have done something wrong. Each time you feel that you have done something wrong, something you should have and could have done differently, something that would have brought you praise instead of ridicule, gain instead of loss, credit instead of blame, or happiness instead of sorrow, this part of your personality experiences regret.

We feel regret when we realize that something we did (or didn’t do) earlier turned out badly. We ‘kick’ ourself for having done that, and wish we could turn back time to do it differently. For example, you can regret your decision to move to another city, when it is not what you expected it to be. Furthermore, you can regret an inaction – a missed opportunity. For example, when you fail to muster the courage to talk to someone you are attracted to. Regret does not have to involve a deliberate decision, you can also regret not having paid enough attention to something, like when you accidentally send a sensitive email to the wrong person. You can even feel regret about something that you can’t really blame yourself for, like when you buy an expensive device and then find it on sale the next week.


Many of us have known regret. Some regrets are unavoidable, but sometimes they can take over our lives. As Mick Jagger said:

“The past is a great place and I don’t want to erase it or to regret it, but I don’t want to be its prisoner either.”


You can’t get to age 70 without making a few mistakes. These range from small missteps, which nibble at us to larger errors, which keep us up at night. Perhaps the most harmful memories are of the times when we have accidentally hurt someone else – or ourselves for that matter!In the journey of life we have all made mistakes and hurt people mostly out of immaturity and selfishness in pursuing our own needs or acting out of painful emotions and unformed values. Mistakes and bad choices usually centre around the three biggies of life: relationships, career/finances and health/lifestyle.

You can regret and feel ashamed about past sexual experiences and relationship heartaches, past financial mistakes and misguided career choices and bad habits and unhealthy eating which has led to illness. Maybe you regret an accident that spun on a split second decision.

You can also regret what you failed to achieve such as having children or wishing for more children; the failure to have a happy marriage, be successful, rich or famous or fulfill childhood dreams to develop a talent.

You can torment yourself by mulling over past regrets and wallowing in shame and self-loathing but it is a completely futile exercise because no amount of wallowing can change the past.

And such anguish is damaging to yourself and those around you. You cannot be your best in the present if you are mentally and emotionally beating yourself up for the past and feeling guilty and ashamed with family and friends.


How to Live Without Regrets at Any Age

Regrets can be a good thing to a certain extent–when it evokes productive guilt and teaches us something we can carry forward. But, when it keeps us up at night, causes shame and anxiety, it’s no longer productive.Overcoming regrets is very important if you are going to love a meaningful life. There is no way you can avoid occasional mistakes which sometimes leads to regrets. It all depends on your presumptions of regrets that determine how they affect you, positively or negatively. The question is, while it is “natural” to have regrets, do they have to hurt us? In other words, are there things that we can do to come to terms with our past and start to build a better future? Can we ever reach a point that we can say to ourselves “Yes, it was a mistake, but, I did the best that I could, based on the information that I had at the time. More importantly, what I learned from this situation made me a better person.” Here are some of the ways that may help you to overcome regrets in order to lead a happy life:


  1. Accept yourself.

Acceptance is the ability to unconditionally value all parts of who you are. That means you acknowledge all of yourself–the good and the things that need improvement. For most of us, self-acceptance can be hard. We tend to be critical of ourselves, but there are a number of ways to learn to accept yourself and your life. It all begins with your state of mind. Yes, you might broken your exercise or diet regimen. Maybe you insulted your friend. Had Bad stuff. Nobody disputes that. But should you feel bad weeks or months later?

When we’re rational about rule-breaking we set a limit. You don’t get 30 years in prison for a traffic ticket. But sometimes you sentence yourself to months or years of emotional pain over minor offenses. By accepting yourself you see the beauty of who you are and what you offer the world.  You also accept that no one is perfect and your imperfections are part of who you are and YOU have the choice to change them or accept and love them.It means casting off the self-hate born from over-scrutinizing your flaws, allows your gifts to shine brighter.  It’s what ignites the light inside you that shines out for all the world to see.It means self-respect.  Self respect plays a huge role in your ability to see your flaws and accept them as-is.  In fact, I’d consider it the foundation of unconditional acceptance and when you build that rock-solid foundation of complete self-respect and, you unconditionally accept yourself, the opinions of others will matter a lot less.

That’s not saying you won’t still care what others think…you will but, while you may care what others think of you, it doesn’t determine your actions or your beliefs about yourself.




2.Taking accountability

“Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.” -Robert F. Kennedy

“Accept everything about yourself – I mean everything, You are you and that is the beginning and the end – no apologies, no regrets.” – Henry A. Kissinger

Great leaders are not afraid to have massive, epic failures. To see what went wrong and not repeat those mistakes but instead learn new ways of doing things.


Because I’ve failed greatly, I have also been able to achieve greatly.  These failures and lessons can teach you so much.  They eventually allow you to achieve greatly.  So go on, keep failing greatly because the next awesome achievement is right around the corner.


Failures and lessons learnt from regrets can change you as a person over time, for better and this is what makes life valuable provided you recognize and accept the regrets in order to learn the lessons it has to offer and apply in your life. Always keep in mind that everyone does what they think is the right thing to do in any given situation, but if something goes wrong, only then people realize their action as a mistake. This sort of self-reflection can be really productive. It’s important to take accountability for our mistakes and our failings, and to repair the hurt we cause other people. How else can we do better?


Mistakes in life often occur inadvertently and so there is no need to punish your-self by being sad, depressed, frustrated, and gets indulged in self-pity. That is why you should recognize the real cause of regrets, accept it, forgive yourself, and pick up the lesson in order to move forward confidently.


3.Own your outcomes.

I read a book titled Is This Seat Taken? It’s Never Too Late To Find The Right Seat by Kristin S. Kaufman. The book is anyone who find themselves in circumstances not planned, not expected, not necessarily desired, and they are asking themselves, “What am I going to do now?”


I believe that, there is not a single person who has not faced an unexpected situation, a newfound reality, a daunting challenge, or veiled opportunity and not wondered what to do. You may feel that you have made poor choices, that your opportunities have passed you by, or that you’re playing musical chairs, the music has stopped, and all the seats are taken. If you have, like the millions of us, please do not get stuck in self-defeating thought loops – acknowledge your regrets and move on. There is a quote that I love from the movie Slumdog Millionaire: “Everything will be OK in the end – and if it’s not OK, it’s not the end.”


Work toward owning every part of your realities–not just the things that need work but also your strengths and successes. Owning all your outcomes can help teach you to do better next time, to see failure as a learning moment.


  1. 4. Practice Self Forgiveness.

If you are reading this blog, there is a good chance you are not a horrific human being. You obviously care about your own healing and about the people you love that you probably have caused pain due to your action, which you now regret about. Whatever has happened you, it is time to show kindness and compassion to yourself, to those that have been hurt, to forgive yourself and let go.


In the Movie “Frozen,” Elsa, the older sister, sings these words: “Let it go, let it go … And I’ll rise like the break of dawn … ”


Let it go.


Those are words I sensed God speaking to me as I walked to Winnipeg Police Headquarters to get a criminal check and Manitoba Child Registry that cold day, I could hear God’s soft voice telling me that it was ok, to let go the regrets of losing my RN license.


“Let go of the past that you cannot undo.”Instead of seeing our regrets as an anchor to the past, let’s see them as a light to the future. Let’s forgive ourselves wholeheartedly and without reservation. Let’s talk our younger, perhaps more confused, self and tell her “No worries  – you turned out ok in the end!”

“Let go of the hurts that hold you too tightly.”

‘When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.’
–Alexander Graham Bell

  1. Do the opposite of what you regret.

We can’t change the past, but what we do have control over is how we will live our lives going forward. Regret is a painful, albeit effective teacher. Learn from its lessons. Though we are all subject to the same human condition, and we will continue to make mistakes as long as we live, taking note of what regret has taught us can prevent the repeating of similar actions we will be sorry for in the future. Replace regretful contemplation with positive action. When wishing you had done things differently overwhelms your thinking, get proactive. Channel your thoughts into what is uplifting. Read something that inspires you. Do something nice for someone. Reach out with a benevolent hand. Be kind to everyone you meet. Smile. We are all in the ring with wishing we had done things differently in the past, but it is amazing how doing something positive, productive, and constructive will knock out the giant of regret.

  1. Prevent further regret.

Take what led to your regret and double your efforts to avoid repeating the same mistake. If you wish you’d stepped up for a previous promotion, speak up before the next opportunity arises, increase your value to the company, and look for every chance to be thought of as the go-to employee ready for the next level.

  • Practice Generosity: A life that revolves around selfish pursuits and egotism is not a life well-lived. You will be remembered by what you have done for others and the world at large, rather than what you have done for Be selfless, compassionate and try and give back whenever and wherever you can.
  • Avoid negative people

Negative people are best avoided, because they can foist their bad attitudes on you, and even get to you. Remember that keeping the company of negative people is a choice, not an obligation. Once you realize this and begin to keep it in mind, you will open up your world to compassion over anger, generosity over greed, and patience over anxiety.

  • Believing in better results. You should always make it a priority in life to let go of what no longer serves you. Sometimes we need to be floored by a bad relationship or other situation, as hitting rock bottom can actually be the springboard we need for us to stand taller than we ever did before. The tears we cry can sometimes clear our eyes so we can see the possibilities that lie in front of us.Remember not to settle for anything less than you deserve.

 Recognize Your Own Abundance

Have you ever noticed that people who are constantly worrying about money seem to only attract more hardship into their lives..?

And that single people who feel their life is nothing without being in a relationship seem to be constantly sabotaging their own love-life?

The problem is that these people are repelling the things that they want the most. In order to attract what we want into our lives, we first need to remove our attachment to what we want and realize that we are ALREADY living with abundance.

Right now, you have everything you need. You may want to increase your wealth, but realize that you are already wealthy. You have a roof over your head, food, clothing, and people who care about you.

So to help you become more aware of your own abundance, give yourself little daily reminders of all of the things in your life you have to be grateful for.

By doing this, you will naturally start to become a more positive and appreciative person… A person who lives life with no regrets!


Analysing our own shortcomings can prevent us from behaving repeatedly in dysfunctional ways. As we incorporate these learning experiences into our decisions and actions, we are less likely to get stuck in.

Hopefully, the insights revealed by our regrets will help us elevate our decisions so that we don’t regret tomorrow how we lived today.So next time you find yourself regretting something you did, try to face up to instead of pretending it didn’t happen and be compassionate with yourself. You might just be able to get over it.


One of the gravest disservices we inflict on ourselves is to judge the decisions we made then based upon what we know now. We only gain such knowledge through the portal of trial and error — and making mistakes.

Making space for regrets and being gentle with them is a step toward softening their hold over us. Affirming that it’s natural to have regrets may relieve some of the shame that keeps us frozen.

Redemption lies not in trying to eliminate regrets, but in using them as a doorway to increase our understanding of ourselves, others, and life itself.Being stuck there, is not helpful and often not fair to our abilities and potential. Regrets are human, we need to learn to live with them in peace – side by side. Remember, regrets can turn into the experiences that help you unfold your potential.

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