Wow. Look at that post. Shedding guilt and regret in 3 steps. I bet that’s a really hard thing to pull off…says you. It is actually, but it can be done if we repeatedly practice. Practice? Yes. practice.
So the other night, I was at my yoga class. I was waiting for some more students to come through the door, and the thing of it was, I had to check my social media for a minute as that’s how they reach me if they are going to be late. A mom made a comment on my status that gave me a little pause in my head. Should I feel guilty for being at my yoga class? No. That’s ridiculous. This is not only what I do, it’s what I love.
Years ago, I had my girls 18 months apart and I took time off to raise them, breast feed them 24/7 (it felt like it), put my Master’s Degree plans on hold because I wanted to be there with my girls, and more. Not once did I regret it…but other people seemed to think I should. I went to college you know and I was “wasting” my education.
Other people sure do like to be in your business if you know what I mean. Even family. So fast forward through the years of health problems, pain, my return to my career only to leave it again, and then my new-found love of being healthy and creating a new identity for myself after going through what I thought was an early mid-life crisis. <<< You might have been there, and no judgement. Who are you after having kids, or your career changes, etc. It happens.
Which brings me back around full circle to the deal my husband made me when I wanted to stop the 24 hour chronic pain in 2013. He said for me to keep trying and he would fully support whatever direction I went in. In 2014, I went to yoga. I could barely hold myself up. In 2015, I made it through 200 hours of Vinyasa Yoga Teacher Training. I felt invincible.
Now, take a wild guess when most people need yoga? After work. So I only taught one night a week and my husband knew that wasn’t really enough. He encouraged me to teach and do what I needed to do and he would take care of driving the girls where they needed to be. They are now middle school and high school.
I am only one person. I can’t be everywhere and I have to accept this. So if I had told people I was going to my “medically necessary” treatment, maybe it would have been better…for them. So here’s the deal and the real way out of guilt and regret that you might be facing when you make certain decisions.
Try These Thoughts:
- Did you make the best decision you could at the time when presented with all the information? The answer is yes. I know that you did, just like I did. When presented with information, whether you are thinking of something in the past or something right now you are dealing with, we can only choose from the facts at hand. The mind distorts as we look back…so don’t do that. You probably have said “If I only knew…” 100 times in your head. The thing is, you didn’t. I didn’t. I can’t go back and change anything, and the truth is, you had all the information at the time and you did your best. So we have to start with where we are now and move forward.
- Can you identify what the guilt or regret is prompting you to do differently now? Okay, you did or didn’t do the thing. You feel like crap. OR someone else is trying to make you feel guilty and you really don’t. Recognize where the guilt or regret is coming from. Is it from you? An outside source? The past? If it is from you and it is a healthy guilt that is prompting you to change an action, then you have learned your lesson and can move on. Make a decision right now to make amends like leaving work on time. Not missing a dinner date that has been on your calendar and calling the person back to apologize if you missed it. Healthy guilt likes you to take care of yourself and your relationships. Now, unhealthy type of guilt might come from some outside source. You should feel bad because this person does everything and can be everywhere at once…but you need help. That is unhealthy and not helping you to move forward. No two people have the same circumstances, the same support system, the same exact thoughts and feelings. This is actually your life. So if it is unhealthy guilt, recognize it. Perfection is a mask.
- Are you able to practice mindfulness and compassion…even with your own thoughts? Want to know a secret? The top answer all people tell me is that they are harder on themselves than others. Why? Because they don’t realize that others are doing the exact same thing in their heads as well. I am not kidding. I do anonymous surveys with my Club members, my newsletter list and poll the audience on my page to gather information about what problems we all face and how we feel we are handling them. If we step back, snap into our bodies for a second and be mindful of our thoughts, we start to realize that others are having a hard time as well. So someone made a comment…it’s because they wish they could put their health first right now and are actually struggling too. Later, they might ask you for advice on how you make sure you put self-care first. The guilty thoughts and regrets come because we think others might be doing things differently, or we could have changed things if we had known x, y, z, but the thing is, they were also doing the best at the time, and in order to forgive them, we have to realize this. It’s a really hard concept, I know, but suffering through regret can be optional.
Each and every month, we work through these concepts in new ways in the Head|Heart|Health Club. We work on being more present, connecting with our hearts and inner desires, protecting ourselves, and growing through the practice of self-compassion and awareness. We learn to accept ourselves as we are and encourage non-judgement. We are working each month to develop that “observing mind” that unlocks us from the pain of regret and guilt. We would love to see you there if you would like to learn more!