Los Angeles Psychologist Yvonne Thomas, Ph.D. On The Importance Of Letting Go Of Regret And Some Ways To Do That (05/26/2022)

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Los Angeles Psychologist : What Is Regret?

Regret involves feeling bad about something you did or didn’t do.  These bad feelings can include disappointment, sadness, and/or sorrow.  Regret also can involve the upset of missing out on opportunities.  Furthermore, with regret, a person may be wishing to have made a different decision or to re-do something verbally or behaviorally you now feel bad about.  In addition, regret can be about feeling distressed that your words and/or actions or lack of one or both of these may have emotionally hurt or offended another person.

How Regret Can Limit A Person In One’s Life

Regret can hold us back in several unhealthy ways.  For one thing, a person with regret can feel undeserving of good things happening to that person, sometimes to the point of subconsciously sabotaging things in one’s life.  Also, because of regret, it may be hard to feel positive emotions about oneself or one’s circumstances due to feeling guilty of what the person is regretful about.

Furthermore, regret can hold us back by making people have self-doubt and fear about making another mistake to feel regret about.  People might avoid making a decision or ask others instead to make choices for them.  However, by doing either one of these, the person can stop emotionally growing and not broaden one’s world because of not directly dealing with life decisions and/or depending on others too much.

Different Ways A Person Can Let Go Of Regret

One way a person can let go of regret is to realistically assess the situation and what the person could have done differently that there is regret about.  This involves the person identifying if the circumstances were expected or unpredictable, and if the situation was under one’s control or not.  Then, the person needs to determine what one should have done or not done to reach a more healthy result.  By evaluating all of these factors to see if one could have changed the outcome of the situation to a more positive one, this helps the person to objectively determine if there genuinely is a reason to feel regret on one’s part or not.

Another way to let go of regret is to make amends with the person or persons you may have emotionally hurt or upset.  This entails pinpointing the behaviors and/or words (or lack of) which need to be apologized for.  It is much more sincere to know specifically what you feel sorry about and what you are being accountable for when it comes to apologizing to the offended party.  It will help to let go of the regret by explaining to that person or persons in a non-defensive way why things happened or didn’t happen the right way.  Certainly, it is important that the person emphasizes (if this is true) that there was no deliberate attempt to offend or emotionally hurt them and that the person is regretting causing any negative outcomes or distress.

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Another way to let go of regret is to stop thinking and feeling in ways which are unhealthy.  By emotionally dwelling on your regret or what you should have done or said instead, you are perpetuating feeling bad without it leading to anything productive or useful.  Instead, try to decrease the thoughts and emotions which are unhealthy or inaccurate, such as all-or-nothing thinking, catastrophizing the situation, emotionally shaming yourself, etc., and replace these with more accurate thoughts and feelings.

If you aren’t able to lessen your unhealthy thoughts and/or emotions enough on your own, it could be very helpful to work with a Los Angeles psychologist who can assist you in learning how to more effectively think and feel which can allow you to let go of your regret in a healthy way.

Take the first step today and call Dr. Thomas for a FREE consultation at (310) 359-9450 or CLICK HERE to request an appointment online.