On Regret: How to move on in 5 steps

how to move on


We experience the feeling of regret at least once, if not more, in our lifetimes. It may have been over a decision we made to leave a partner or maybe a decision to reject someone, or something along the same lines. Whatever the reason, let’s learn how to move on and overcome this feeling.

Let’s begin to feel at peace with ourselves again.

Let’s get started.


1. Delusions about the perfect future

When we regret, we often grieve the possibility of having an amazing future.  If we regret rejecting someone, we are under the delusion that we could have had the perfect relationship with them. If we regret marriage, we believe that life without the person we ended up with would have been amazing. And if we regret ever going into a relationship that left us broken hearted, we believe life would have been better without all the pain they caused us. But there is more to that too.

The image of a different, more desirable life if so and so happened is the reason behind our feelings of regret.

But in so believing, how realistic are we being? What are the chances that fantastic future could have come true or would have even made us happy?

More often than not, what we believe and dream about is only imaginary, and rarely would have come true. 

Don’t be hung up on the ‘if only’s. Keep your head up and move on.

2. Think and reflect

Think about and question why you made the decision that left you feeling regretful. There must have been a good explanation that made sense to you back then. 

Identify and understand your reasoning.

Maybe the reason you rejected someone was that you didn’t love them. They may have been the greatest person in the world, but you didn’t love them. This made sense to you back then, even if you are having trouble understanding your reasoning now. That is completely okay.

Maybe the reason you wish you hadn’t married is because you are having issues in your marriage now. Instead of focusing on what could have been, focus on identifying and resolving the problems you’re having now. It helps to think about all the reasons why you married your partner- it reignites the love.

And maybe the reason you decided to enter that unsuccessful relationship was because you were so attracted to them, all their flaws were invisible to you. You have faith in people and that is a good feeling. 

3. You made the best decision under the circumstances

Always believe that you made the best decision under the circumstances.

Us humans are always evolving. We change so much that the person we are today is sometimes completely different from the person we were a month ago.

We grow, adapt, and change our minds. Even our entire belief system changes sometimes.

Believe that with the knowledge you had back then, you made the best decision you could. The person you were back then was different than who you are now. You can’t expect that person to have had the same amount of knowledge you acquire now.

4. Take responsibility for your decisions

Whatever you decided, in whatever state of mind you were and with however much knowledge and wisdom, accept it. Trust your instincts and your ability to make sound decisions.

Taking responsibility for all your good and bad decisions is a part of maturity and adulthood.

Once you believe in your good judgement, taking responsibility for your decisions becomes easy. Then you know that even if you made bad decisions, you knew better. And that helps you move on.

5. Forgive yourself

If the decision was poorly made, with poor judgement, accept that it was a mistake.

Know that we are all humans and in no way perfect. This puts us in a position where we are highly prone to making mistakes. 

Forgive yourself and move on now that it has happened. Because the sooner you forgive yourself, the sooner you are open to new possibilities. Closing yourself off from the world is another mistake where you lose all the wonderful new opportunities to make up for your past mistakes.


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In Conclusion…

We talked about how to put regret behind us and move on. First by understanding what we imagine to be true is just that, our imagination. Then by analyzing our decisions and understanding why we made them and believing in our best judgement. 

In the end, forgiving ourselves for the mistakes we think we made, because at the end of the day we are humans and very imperfect. 

What do you regret most in your life? 

Let’s chat about it in the comments. I’d love to get to know you!

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